Missouri Revised Statutes

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

August 28, 2013




Marriage a civil contract.

451.010. Marriage is considered in law as a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties capable in law of contracting is essential.

(RSMo 1939 3360)

Prior revisions: 1929 2973; 1919 7298; 1909 8279



Certain marriages prohibited--official issuing licenses to certain persons guilty of misdemeanor.

451.020. All marriages between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, first cousins, and between persons who lack capacity to enter into a marriage contract, are presumptively void; and it shall be unlawful for any city, county or state official having authority to issue marriage licenses to issue such marriage licenses to the persons heretofore designated, and any such official who shall issue such licenses to the persons aforesaid knowing such persons to be within the prohibition of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; and this prohibition shall apply to persons born out of lawful wedlock as well as those in lawful wedlock. It shall be presumed that marriages between persons who lack capacity to enter into a marriage contract are prohibited unless the court having jurisdiction over such persons approves the marriage.

(RSMo 1939 3361, A.L. 1961 p. 343, A.L. 1969 H.B. 564, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

Prior revisions: 1929 2974; 1919 7299; 1909 8280

(2000) When a second marriage takes place prior to the annulment of a previous voidable marriage, a decree annulling the first marriage does not relate back to the time of that marriage so as to validate a second marriage contracted before the annulment decree. Everetts v. Apfel, 214 F.3d 990 (8th Cir.).



Public policy, same sex marriages prohibited--license may not be issued.

451.022. 1. It is the public policy of this state to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman.

2. Any purported marriage not between a man and a woman is invalid.

3. No recorder shall issue a marriage license, except to a man and a woman.

4. A marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted.

(L. 1996 S.B. 768 6, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157)



Bigamous marriage void.

451.030. All marriages, where either of the parties has a former wife or husband living, shall be void, unless the former marriage shall have been dissolved.

(RSMo 1939 3362)

Prior revisions: 1929 2975; 1919 7300; 1909 8281



Marriage license required, waiting period--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. 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.

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

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

5. 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)

Prior revisions: 1929 2977; 1919 7302; 1909 8283



Recorder to issue license--form of.

451.080. 1. The recorders of the several counties of this state, and the recorder of the city of St. Louis, shall, when applied to by any person legally entitled to a marriage license, issue the same which may be in the following form:

State of Missouri )

)

ss.

)

County of ....................... )

This license authorizes any judge, associate circuit judge, licensed or ordained preacher of the gospel, or other person authorized under the laws of this state, to solemnize marriage between A B of ........., county of ....... and state of ......, who is ...... the age of eighteen years, and C D of ......, in the county of ....., state of ......, who is ...... the age of eighteen years.

2. If the man is under eighteen or the woman under eighteen, add the following:

The custodial parent or guardian, as the case may be, of the said A B or C D (A B or C D, as the case may require), has given his or her assent to the said marriage.

Witness my hand as recorder, with the seal of office hereto affixed, at my office, in ......, the ...... day of ......, 20.., recorder.

3. On which such license the person solemnizing the marriage shall, within fifteen days after the issuing thereof, make as near as may be the following return, and return such license to the officer issuing the same:

State of Missouri )

)

ss. .

)

County of ................... )

This is to certify that the undersigned ...... did at ......, in said county, on the ........ day of .......... A.D. 20....., unite in marriage the above-named persons.

(RSMo 1939 3365, A.L. 1974 2d Ex. Sess. H.B. 11, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157)

Prior revisions: 1929 2978; 1919 7303; 1909 8284



Issuance of license prohibited, when--parental consent, when required.

451.090. 1. No recorder shall, in any event except as herein provided, issue a license authorizing the marriage of any person under fifteen years of age; provided, however, that such license may be issued on order of a circuit or associate circuit judge of the county in which the license is applied for, such license being issued only for good cause shown and by reason of such unusual conditions as to make such marriage advisable.

2. No recorder shall issue a license authorizing the marriage of any male under the age of eighteen years or of any female under the age of eighteen years, except with the consent of his or her custodial parent or guardian, which consent shall be given at the time, in writing, stating the residence of the person giving such consent, signed and sworn to before an officer authorized to administer oaths.

3. The recorder shall state in every license whether the parties applying for same, one or either or both of them, are of age, or whether the male is under the age of eighteen years or the female under the age of eighteen years, and if the male is under the age of eighteen years or the female is under the age of eighteen years, the name of the custodial parent or guardian consenting to such marriage.

(RSMo 1939 3370, A.L. 1974 2d Ex. Sess. H.B. 11, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180)

Prior revisions: 1929 2983; 1919 7308; 1909 8289



Marriages solemnized by whom.

451.100. Marriages may be solemnized by any clergyman, either active or retired, who is in good standing with any church or synagogue in this state. Marriages may also be solemnized, without compensation, by any judge, including a municipal judge. Marriages may also be solemnized by a religious society, religious institution, or religious organization of this state, according to the regulations and customs of the society, institution or organization, when either party to the marriage to be solemnized is a member of such society, institution or organization.

(RSMo 1939 3363, A.L. 1945 p. 1145, A.L. 1969 p. 545, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 1989 H.B. 898, A.L. 1998 H.B. 987)

Prior revisions: 1929 2976; 1919 7301; 1909 8282

CROSS REFERENCE:

Penalty for illegally solemnizing marriage, 451.115



Certificate of marriage to be given.

451.110. Every person solemnizing marriages under this chapter shall issue and deliver to the parties to such marriage a certificate thereof, which shall be furnished in blank by the officer who issues such license, setting forth the names and residence of the parties and the date of such marriage, and the county from which the license was issued and the date of same; and such certificates shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated in all courts of this state.

(RSMo 1939 3369)

Prior revisions: 1929 2982; 1919 7307; 1909 8288



Marriages illegally solemnized--penalty.

451.115. Every person who shall solemnize any marriage, having knowledge of any fact which renders such marriage unlawful or criminal in either of the parties under any law of this state, or, having knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that either of the parties shall be under the age of legal consent, or is prohibited by section 451.020 from entering into such marriage, or where to his knowledge, any other legal impediment exists to such marriage, and every person not authorized by law to solemnize marriages who shall falsely represent that he is so authorized, and who, by any pretended marriage ceremony which he may perform, shall deceive any innocent person or persons into the belief that they have been legally married, shall, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

(RSMo 1939 4652, A.L. 1982 S.B. 785, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

Prior revisions: 1929 4264; 1919 3514; 1909 4728

*Transferred 1978; formerly 563.250



Penalty for solemnizing marriage without license, or failing to keep a record thereof.

451.120. Any person who shall solemnize any marriage wherein the parties have not obtained a license, as provided by this chapter, or shall fail to keep a record of the solemnization of any marriage, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars, and in addition shall be subject to a civil action by the parent, conservator or other person having care or custody of the person so married, to whom services are due wherein the recovery shall not exceed the sum of five hundred dollars; and any recorder who shall issue a license contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a like punishment.

(RSMo 1939 3371, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

Prior revisions: 1929 2984; 1919 7309; 1909 8290



Penalty for failure to issue, record or return license.

451.130. 1. If any recorder willfully neglect or refuse to issue a license to any person legally entitled thereto on application, on payment or tender of the fee provided for in section 451.150, or shall fail to refuse to record such license, with the return thereon, as herein provided, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in any sum not less than five nor more than one hundred dollars.

2. Every officer or person who shall fail to return a license within fifteen days after the issuing of the same, or who shall make a false return thereon, or any recorder who shall willfully make a false record of any marriage license or return thereon, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in the preceding part of this section.

(RSMo 1939 3367, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157)

Prior revisions: 1929 2980; 1919 7305; 1909 8286



Licenses to be recorded--fee.

451.150. The recorder shall record all marriage licenses issued in a well-bound book kept for that purpose, with the return thereon, for which he shall receive a fee of ten dollars to be paid for by the person obtaining the same.

(RSMo 1939 3366, A.L. 1972 H.B. 1447, A.L. 1986 H.B. 931, A.L. 1987 H.B. 384 Revision)

Prior revisions: 1929 2979; 1919 7304; 1909 8285

Effective 6-15-87

CROSS REFERENCES:

Recorder to keep index of marriage contracts and marriage certificates, 59.450

Recording fees, 193.195



Additional fee for issuing marriage license or certified copies--amount to be collected by county recorder, duty to deposit--how.

451.151. 1. In addition to any other fee for the issuance of a marriage license there is hereby imposed a fee of twenty dollars to be paid by the person applying for such license. Such fee shall be collected by the recorder of deeds at the time the marriage license is issued.

2. In addition to any other fee for a certified copy of a marriage license there is hereby imposed a fee of seven dollars to be paid by the person applying for such certified copy. Such fee shall be collected by the recorder of deeds at the time the certified copy is issued. The recorder of deeds shall have the authority to differentiate, for fee imposition purposes, between a certified copy and a mere photocopy copy.

3. The recorder of deeds shall, at the end of each month, forward fifteen dollars for the issuance of a marriage license to the director of the department of revenue for deposit in the children's trust fund established in section 210.173, and five dollars for the issuance of a marriage license shall be paid to the county treasurer and deposited in a special trust fund to be expended only to provide financial assistance to shelters for victims of domestic violence, established pursuant to sections 455.200 to 455.230. The recorder of deeds shall at the end of each month forward seven dollars for each certified copy of a marriage license to the children's trust fund established in section 210.173.

(L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al. 9, A.L. 1992 H.B. 894)



Names of children born before marriage shall be recorded.

451.160. The reputed father and mother of children who were born before the ceremony of marriage is performed, as provided by this chapter, may, at the time of solemnization of said marriage, give to the officer the names of their children then living, or the descendants of such as may be dead; and it shall be the duty of such officer to record such names with his certificate of marriage.

(RSMo 1939 3372)

Prior revisions: 1929 2985; 1919 7310; 1909 8291

CROSS REFERENCE:

Issue of void or dissolved marriage legitimate, 474.080



Lost record of marriage supplied, how.

451.170. In any county in this state where the record of any marriage has been lost or destroyed, such record may be supplied by the minister or officer who solemnized any such marriage, by filing in the recorder's office of such county a certificate showing the names of the persons by him married, the date of such marriage, and the county in which the same was solemnized.

(RSMo 1939 3641)

Prior revisions: 1929 3251; 1919 10613; 1909 10424



New certificate obtained, how.

451.180. In all counties in this state where records of marriages have been destroyed by fire or otherwise, any person whose record of marriage has been destroyed, or the heirs or descendants of such person, may obtain from the officer or minister who solemnized such marriage a certificate, showing dates, names of parties married, and witnesses present at said solemnization of marriage, so far as said officer or minister may be able to certify the same; and the record of said certificate shall be prima facie evidence of said marriage in all the courts of this state.

(RSMo 1939 3645)

Prior revisions: 1929 3255; 1919 10617; 1909 10428



Record supplied by certificate of witnesses, how.

451.190. If the minister or officer who solemnized any marriage, the record of which has been lost or destroyed, be dead, refuse to give a certificate as required by section 451.170, or his whereabouts be unknown, it shall be lawful for two credible persons who witnessed such marriage to make affidavit to the fact, giving the names of the persons, the name of the minister or officer officiating, and the date of such marriage, which shall be filed and recorded in the recorder's office of such county, which affidavit, or certified copy thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of such marriage in any court in this state.

(RSMo 1939 3642)

Prior revisions: 1929 3252; 1919 10614; 1909 10425



Certificates and affidavits recorded when records lost or destroyed--fee.

451.200. The recorders in such counties in this state wherein such records have been lost or destroyed shall file and record the certificates or affidavits provided for in sections 451.170 and 451.180, for which they shall be allowed the same fee as for recording other certificates of marriage, and shall furnish copies of such certificates or affidavits when required.

(RSMo 1939 3643)

Prior revisions: 1929 3253; 1919 10615; 1909 10426



Rerecording where marriage records are destroyed--fee.

451.210. In all counties of this state where the records of marriages have been burned or otherwise destroyed, the recorder of deeds or other officer whose duty it may be to record certificates of marriages shall purchase at the expense of his county a substantially bound book in which he shall record certificates of marriage, produced, and shown to him to be genuine, by any party or parties whose record of marriage has been burned or otherwise destroyed, and the heirs and descendants of such party or parties may produce the certificate of marriage herein contemplated, and have the same recorded, and the recorder or officer recording shall receive therefor the sum of fifty cents for each certificate recorded.

(RSMo 1939 3644)

Prior revisions: 1929 3254; 1919 10616; 1909 10427



Marriage contracts to be in writing, acknowledged or proved.

451.220. All marriage contracts whereby any estate, real or personal, in this state, is intended to be secured or conveyed to any person or persons, or whereby such estate may be affected in law or equity, shall be in writing, and acknowledged by each of the contracting parties, or proved by one or more subscribing witnesses.

(RSMo 1939 3373)

Prior revisions: 1929 2986; 1919 7311; 1909 8292

CROSS REFERENCES:

Conveyance avoided if bar of inheritance rights fails, 474.130

Interrupted contract bars inheritance rights, when, 474.120



How acknowledged or proved--to be recorded, where.

451.230. Such marriage contracts shall be acknowledged or proved before the same officer and certified in the same manner as deeds of conveyance for land are or shall be required by law to be acknowledged or proved and certified; and they shall be recorded, with the certificate of proof or acknowledgment, in the office of the recorder of each county where any estate is situated which is intended to be conveyed or affected thereby.

(RSMo 1939 3374)

Prior revisions: 1929 2987; 1919 7312; 1909 8293

CROSS REFERENCE:

Marriage contracts to be received in evidence, when, 490.590



Contract so recorded shall impart notice, to whom.

451.240. When any such marriage contract is deposited in the recorder's office for record, it shall, as to all property affected by it in the county where the same is deposited, impart full notice to all persons of its contents; and no such contract shall be valid or affect any property except between the parties thereto and such as have actual notice thereof, until it shall be deposited for record, as herein prescribed.

(RSMo 1939 3375)

Prior revisions: 1929 2988; 1919 7313; 1909 8294



Married persons to hold real and personal property as separate property--liable for what.

451.250. 1. All real estate and any personal property, including rights in action, belonging to any man or woman at his or her marriage, or which may have come to him or her during coverture, by gift, bequest or inheritance, or by purchase with his or her separate money or means, or be due as the wages of his or her separate labor, or has grown out of any violation of his or her personal rights, shall, together with all income, increase and profits thereof, be and remain his or her separate property and under his or her sole control, and shall not be liable to be taken by any process of law for the debts of his wife or her husband.

2. This section shall not affect the title of any husband or wife to any personal property reduced to his or her possession with the express assent of his or her spouse; provided, that said personal property shall not be deemed to have been reduced to possession by the husband or wife by his or her use, occupancy, care or protection thereof, but the same shall remain his or her separate property, unless by the terms of said assent, in writing, full authority shall have been given by the husband or wife to the spouse to sell, encumber or otherwise dispose of the same for his or her own use and benefit, but such property shall be subject to execution for the payments of the debts of the spouse contracted before or during marriage, and for any debt or liability of his or her spouse created for necessaries for the spouse or family; and any such married man or woman may, in his or her own name and without joining his or her spouse, as a party plaintiff institute and maintain any action, in any of the courts of this state having jurisdiction, for the recovery of any such personal property, including rights in action, as aforesaid, with the same force and effect as if such married man or woman was * not married; provided, any judgment for costs in any such proceeding rendered against any such married spouse, may be satisfied out of any separate property of such married spouse subject to execution; provided, that before any such execution shall be levied upon any separate estate of a married spouse, he or she shall have been made a party to the action, and all questions involved shall have been therein determined, and shall be recited in the judgment and the execution thereon.

(RSMo 1939 3390, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 3003; 1919 7328; 1909 8309

*Word "a" appears in original rolls.



Rents of married person's real estate exempt from liability for spouse's debts, when.

451.260. The rents, issues and products of the real estate of any married person, and all moneys and obligations arising from the sale of such real estate, and the interest of such person's spouse in such person's right in any real estate which belonged to such person before marriage, or which he or she may have acquired by gift, grant, devise or inheritance during coverture, shall, during coverture, be exempt from attachment or levy of execution for the sole debts of his or her spouse; and no conveyance made during coverture by such spouse of such rents, issues and products, or of any interest in such real estate, shall be valid, unless the same be by deed executed by the spouse jointly with the * other spouse, and acknowledged by him or her in the manner now provided by law; provided, such annual products may be attached or levied upon for any debt or liability of his or her spouse, created for necessaries for the spouse and family, and for debts for labor or materials furnished upon or for the cultivation or improvement of such real estate.

(RSMo 1939 3389, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 3002; 1919 7327; 1909 8308

*Word "the" appears in original rolls.



Property of married person exempt from debts of spouse incurred before marriage.

451.270. A spouse's property, except such as may be acquired from the other spouse, shall be exempt from all debts and liabilities contracted or incurred by his or her spouse before their marriage.

(RSMo 1939 3391, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 3004; 1919 7329; 1909 8310



Wife deemed femme sole, when.

451.290. A married woman shall be deemed a femme sole so far as to enable her to carry on and transact business on her own account, to contract and be contracted with, to sue and be sued, and to enforce and have enforced against her property such judgments as may be rendered for or against her, and may sue and be sued at law or in equity, with or without her husband being joined as a party; provided, a married woman may invoke all exemption and homestead laws now or hereafter in force for the protection of personal and real property owned by the head of a family, except in cases where the husband has claimed such exemption and homestead rights for the protection of his own property.

(RSMo 1939 3385)

Prior revisions: 1929 2998; 1919 7323; 1909 8304

CROSS REFERENCES:

Estate of wife conveyed and dower relinquished, how, covenant, when binding on wife or husband, 442.030



Conveyance of property when one of the spouses is disabled and under conservatorship or a guardian ad litem is appointed.

451.300. The spouse of any person who is under conservatorship may join with the conservator in making partition of his or her own real estate held in joint tenancy, or in common, and may, jointly with the conservator, make any release or other conveyance necessary and proper for that purpose; and he or she may sell and convey his or her own real estate by joining with the conservator in such sale and conveyance, to be under the order and supervision of the proper court, and deeds executed jointly by himself or herself and such conservator shall have the same force and effect as if done with his or her spouse if such spouse had been under no disability; and in all cases where the real estate of such person shall be sold by his or her conservator in due conformity to law, he or she may relinquish his or her right in such real estate as fully as if his or her spouse joined in the deed of release; and when a person is found to be disabled as defined in chapter 475, and his or her spouse is the owner of real estate in this state that he or she desires to convey, then, upon provision made for such disabled person, according to his or her needs, and according to the ability, situation in life and circumstances of his or her spouse, and to his or her safely secured under the order and control of the proper court, the conservator of such disabled person may, under the order and approval of the court, join in a deed, on behalf of such disabled person, for the purpose of conveying his or her homestead, interest in such real estate; and if he or she has no conservator, then the court may appoint a guardian ad litem pursuant to chapter 475 who may, in like manner, upon the conditions and under the order of the court, join with the spouse on his or her behalf in such deed; and such conveyance, when executed, as aforesaid, by either the conservator or the guardian ad litem and the spouse of such person, shall be as valid and effectual to convey any land owned by such spouse, including his or her homestead, and shall have the effect of releasing the spouse's homestead in the real estate as fully as if he or she had, under no disability, of his or her own free will, executed and acknowledged the same; provided, that no such order of conveyance shall be made by the court until application made thereto, in writing, by such spouse, setting forth the facts, and twenty days' public notice given of the time and place of hearing such application has been given by publication in a weekly newspaper of general circulation published in the county.

(RSMo 1939 3384, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2997; 1919 7322; 1909 8303

CROSS REFERENCE:

Conveyance of estate by entireties where spouse is a minor or incompetent, 442.035

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