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Minnesota Legislature

Marriage laws get updated (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Mike Cook
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A person under age 21 can get married in Minnesota, but someone under that age will no longer be able to perform the ceremony.

That is one provision in a new law that makes modifications to the state statutes governing marriage. It takes effect Aug. 1, 2009.

Current law would allow someone of any age to potentially become a licensed or ordained minister of any religion over the Internet and perform a marriage.

Sponsored by Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) and Sen. Don Betzold (DFL-Fridley), the law also removes a requirement on a marriage application about any children the couple has together. The confidential information is currently collected; although nothing is done with it. Supporters said there is no point to spending money to track the information when it is not used for anything.

If an individual applies for a marriage license, but does not have a Social Security number, they must certify they do not have one.

Premarital education gets a couple a discount on their license fee. The law requires that proof of the class must be notarized. Currently a handwritten note or an e-mail is sufficient for the reduced rate.

It also makes changes to clarify that the local registrar is the custodian of marriages, not the court administrator; clarifies that the person performing the marriage must ensure the people getting married are the people for whom the license is intended; clarifies that both parties must apply for the marriage license, but it creates an application process if one of the parties is not available; and clarifies that a person with a felony cannot change their name through marriage without following the process identified in the court-ordered name change for felons. It used to be that felons couldn’t change their last name when they got married, but could change their first name.

HF695/SF548*/CH129

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