Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 451
Marriage, Marriage Contracts, and Rights of Married Women
Section 451.040

August 28, 2014


Marriage license required, waiting period--presence not required, when--application, contents--license void when--common law of marriages void--lack of authority to perform marriage, effect.

451.040. 1. Previous to any marriage in this state, a license for that purpose shall be obtained from the officer authorized to issue the same, and no marriage contracted shall be recognized as valid unless the license has been previously obtained, and unless the marriage is solemnized by a person authorized by law to solemnize marriages.

2. Before applicants for a marriage license shall receive a license, and before the recorder of deeds shall be authorized to issue a license, the parties to the marriage shall present an application for the license, duly executed and signed in the presence of the recorder of deeds or their deputy. If an applicant is unable to sign the application in the presence of the recorder of deeds as a result of the applicant's incarceration or because the applicant has been called or ordered to active military duty out of the state or country, the recorder of deeds may issue a license if:

(1) An affidavit or sworn statement is submitted by the incarcerated or military applicant on a form furnished by the recorder of deeds which includes the necessary information for the recorder of deeds to issue a marriage license under this section. The form shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) The names of both applicants for the marriage license;

(b) The date of birth of the incarcerated or military applicant;

(c) An attestation by the incarcerated or military applicant that both applicants are not related;

(d) The date the marriage ended if the incarcerated or military applicant was previously married;

(e) An attestation signed by the incarcerated or military applicant stating in substantial part that the applicant is unable to appear in the presence of the recorder* of deeds as a result of the applicant's incarceration or because the applicant has been called or ordered to active military duty out of the state or country, which will be verified by the professional or official who directs the operation of the jail or prison or the military applicant's military officer, or such professional's or official's designee, and acknowledged by a notary public commissioned by the state of Missouri at the time of verification. However, in the case of an applicant who is called or ordered** to active military duty outside Missouri, acknowledgement*** may be obtained by a notary public who is duly commissioned by a state other than Missouri or by notarial services of a military officer in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice at the time of verification;

(2) The completed marriage license application of the incarcerated or military applicant is submitted which includes the applicant's Social Security number; except that, in the event the applicant does not have a Social Security number, a sworn statement by the applicant to that effect; and

(3) A copy of a government-issued identification for the incarcerated or military applicant which contains the applicant's photograph. However, in such case the incarcerated applicant does not have such an identification because the jail or prison to which he or she is confined does not issue an identification with a photo his or her notarized application shall satisfy this requirement.

3. Each application for a license shall contain the Social Security number of the applicant, provided that the applicant in fact has a Social Security number, or the applicant shall sign a statement provided by the recorder that the applicant does not have a Social Security number. The Social Security number contained in an application for a marriage license shall be exempt from examination and copying pursuant to section 610.024. After the receipt of the application the recorder of deeds shall issue the license, unless one of the parties withdraws the application. The license shall be void after thirty days from the date of issuance.

4. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

5. Common-law marriages shall be null and void.

6. Provided, however, that no marriage shall be deemed or adjudged invalid, nor shall the validity be in any way affected for want of authority in any person so solemnizing the marriage pursuant to section 451.100, if consummated with the full belief on the part of the persons, so married, or either of them, that they were lawfully joined in marriage.

(RSMo 1939 § 3364, A.L. 1943 p. 639, A.L. 1974 H.B. 981, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 1981 S.B. 21 & 113, A.L. 1986 H.B. 931, A.L. 1997 S.B. 361, A.L. 1998 H.B. 987, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157, A.L. 2007 S.B. 22, A.L. 2014 S.B. 796)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 2977; 1919 § 7302; 1909 § 8283

Effective 7-02-14

*Word "recording" appears in original rolls.

**Word "order" appears in original rolls.

***Word "acknowledge" appears in original rolls.


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