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      Marriage Licenses

      There is a fee for the marriage license established by the probate court in each of Ohio's 88 counties. The fee established for that license in Mahoning County is $43.00 and it must be paid in cash only.  Providing correct change may avoid any delays.  Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

      What is a marriage relationship?

      Marriage is a legal as well as spiritual and personal relationship. When you exchange your marriage vows, you enter into a legal contract. There are three parties to that legal contract: you; your spouse; and the State of Ohio. The State is a party to the contract because, under its laws, you have certain obligations and responsibilities to each other, to any children you may have, and to Ohio.


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      What are the obligations of a marriage?

      It is important for both parties to a marriage to realize that they owe obligations of mutual respect, fidelity and support to each other. Both parties must support themselves and their spouse out of their respective property or by their respective labor. If a married person is unable to do so, as in the case of injury or disease, the other spouse must assist in the support so far as the spouse is able. The duty to support also extends to the parties' biological and adopted children. Failure to provide support to your spouse or your dependents may result in a violation of Ohio law.


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      How do you obtain a marriage license?

      The probate court in each of Ohio's 88 counties is the only agency of this State authorized to issue a marriage license. The application for a marriage license must be made under oath by the contracting parties before the probate court of the county in which either party resides. If neither party is a resident of Ohio, the application must be made in the county where the marriage will be solemnized.

      Both parties must appear in person and state under oath the following: name, age, residence, place of birth, occupation, Social Security number, father's name and mother's maiden name, if known, and the name of the person expected to solemnize the marriage. The Mahoning County Probate Court requires a certified copy of your birth certificate showing the age of the applicant and other proof of pertinent facts. Also, a second form of identification is required, i.e.: a valid Driver's License, a valid Photo I.D.Card, or some other form of documentation that can prove identification and you must also have proof of your Social Security Number; however, it will not become part of the public records.

      If one or both applicants have been married before, the application must include the names of the parties to the marriage and the names of any minor children. If either party has been divorced, the places, dates and case numbers of the divorces must be provided. Also, a certified copy of the most recent divorce decree must be presented at the time of application. If your former spouse has died, a certified copy of his/her death certificate must be provided.

      Upon completion of the Marriage Application and approval of all necessary supplemental documentation, the License shall be issued. Upon the issuance of the marriage license, it remains valid for 60 days. If the marriage is not performed within that time, a new license must be secured.

      To obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate you may send a business size, self-addressed, stamped envelope and include $2.00 CASH OR MONEY ORDER ONLY, for each copy (if requesting more that 3 copies, please allow for additional postage) to Mahoning County Probate Court, Marriage License Department, 120 Market Street, Youngstown, Ohio 44503. Please include the Bride's maiden name and the Groom's name, date of marriage and the number of copies you are requesting. You may also obtain a certified copy of your marriage license by personally appearing at the Mahoning County Probate Court.


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      Who may contract a marriage?

      Male persons of the age of 18 years and female persons of the age of 16 years, not nearer of kin than second cousins and not having a husband or wife, may be joined in marriage. A minor must first obtain the consent of his or her parents, surviving parent, parent who is designated the residential parent and legal custodian of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, the guardian of his or her person, or any of the following who has been awarded permanent custody of him or her by a court exercising juvenile jurisdiction: an adult person; the Department of Human Services or any child welfare organization certified by that department; or a public children services agency. No license to marry will be issued if either applicant appears to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs.

      In cases in which either applicant is under the age of 18 years, proof of age is required. Also, any applicant who has not reached 18 years of age is required to prove that he or she has received marriage counseling satisfactory to the court.


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      Must a married couple use the same last name?

      Assumption by the wife of the husband's last name is a matter of custom and tradition. In fact, either may assume the other's name, or both may adopt a new surname upon marriage. The custom has been modified by the wife's addition of the husband's last name by hyphenation or retention of her own last name. There is nothing to prevent a person from using more than one name.

      If the wife is changing her name, it is very important that she notify several agencies of this fact. These would include the Social Security Administration and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Without these changes, problems may arise concerning her driver's license and her income taxes for the Internal Revenue Service. The wife should also contact any firm with which she has credit accounts and banks that have issued her credit cards. Her employer should notify any retirement boards or various state agencies of any changes.


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      How does marriage affect ownership of property?

      In Ohio, the act of getting married does not give either a husband or wife an ownership interest in assets that were owned by the other spouse before the marriage. Assets acquired after the marriage may be owned jointly by the couple or held as the separate property of either spouse. However, if one spouse dies, the survivor may be entitled to support, an interest in real property and the right to remain in the couple's home for at least one year - even if all assets were titled in the deceased spouse's name. Other rules apply to ownership of real estate. A non-owner spouse has an ownership (dower) interest in real estate, whether acquired before or after the marriage, that cannot be released without his or her consent. In case of a divorce, a domestic relations court decides how assets will be divided among the spouses.

      With these thoughts in mind, couples who are planning to marry or who have been recently married may wish to consult a lawyer and, if they have substantial assets already, an investment counselor. They should consider drafting a Will or a new Will if either has previously been married. They may also wish to consider whether to obtain a safe deposit box, whether or how to caption or re-title bank accounts, investments, credit cards, real property titles or titles for motor vehicles, boats or trailers, whether to obtain life insurance policies, or whether to change the designation of beneficiary or dependent upon existing policies of life insurance, health care or other insurances.


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      What is a premarital agreement?

      A premarital agreement (also called a prenuptial or antenuptial agreement) is a contract entered into by persons about to be married, who wish to resolve issues of support, distribution of wealth and identification, separation, and/or division of property, in the event of the death of either spouse or the failure of the proposed marriage. Generally, premarital agreements can be used to divest the parties of statutory rights in each other's property that would normally arise by virtue of marriage. Consequently, they are commonly employed by persons possessed of substantial wealth who wish to preserve all or part of the wealth from the spouse, or to keep the wealth in the same family that generated it. Additional uses for premarital contracts are by those who have been previously married and wish to see that their property goes to the children of the prior marriage on the termination of the proposed marriage, and those who have had a bad experience in a prior divorce in regard to property and/or spousal support and have no wish to repeat the experience.

       


      Adoptions | Civil - Miscellaneous | Decedents Estates | Guardianships - Alternatives | Marriage Licenses | Trusts | Wills | Wrongful Deaths


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