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Marriage Certificate South Dakota

Marriage Certificate South Dakota

Unveiling the Commitment: A Guide to Marriage Certificates in South Dakota

A marriage certificate is not just a piece of paper; it symbolizes the legal union between two individuals embarking on a shared journey. In South Dakota, as in every state, obtaining a marriage certificate is a pivotal step in formalizing the commitment made between partners. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to marriage certificates in South Dakota, covering the process of obtaining one, its legal significance, and the essential information it contains.

Obtaining a Marriage Certificate in South Dakota:

1. Application Process:
– To obtain a marriage certificate in South Dakota, couples must apply in person at the Register of Deeds office in the county where the marriage ceremony will take place. Both parties must be present, and each should bring valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

2. Residency Requirements:
– South Dakota does not have residency requirements for marriage, making it accessible for both residents and non-residents to marry in the state.

3. Age Requirements:
– Both parties must be at least 18 years old to marry without parental consent. If either party is 16 or 17, they can marry with the consent of a parent or guardian.

4. Waiting Period:
– There is no waiting period in South Dakota between applying for a marriage license and the ceremony. Once the license is issued, the couple can proceed with their marriage ceremony at any time.

5. Expiration of License:
– Marriage licenses in South Dakota are valid for 20 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage does not take place within this timeframe, the couple must reapply.

Legal Significance of Marriage Certificates:

1. Proof of Marriage:
– A marriage certificate serves as legal proof of a marital union. It is a document recognized by government agencies, financial institutions, and other entities as evidence of the couple’s legal status.

2. Name Change:
– For individuals choosing to change their last names after marriage, the marriage certificate is a critical document. It provides the legal basis for updating identification, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security records.

3. Family Planning:
– Marriage certificates are often required when applying for spousal benefits, insurance coverage, or making other decisions related to family planning and legal matters.

4. Divorce Proceedings:
– In the unfortunate event of a divorce, the marriage certificate is a vital document used in legal proceedings to establish the existence of the marriage.

Information Contained in a Marriage Certificate:

1. Names of Spouses:
– The full names of both individuals involved in the marriage are typically recorded on the certificate.

2. Date and Location:
– The date and location of the marriage ceremony, including the city or county, are important details found on the certificate.

3. Officiant’s Information:
– The name and title of the officiant who performed the marriage ceremony are often included.

4. Witnesses:
– The names of individuals who served as witnesses to the marriage may be documented.

5. License Number:
– The marriage certificate often includes the license number assigned to the couple when they applied for the marriage license.


A marriage certificate in South Dakota is more than just a record; it is a testament to the commitment shared between two individuals. From the application process to its legal significance, understanding the nuances of obtaining and preserving this document is essential for couples embarking on the journey of matrimony in the Mount Rushmore State. Whether for name changes, legal documentation, or as a cherished keepsake, the marriage certificate holds a special place in the narrative of every couple’s union.


Frequently Asked Questions about Getting a Marriage Certificate in South Dakota

What is a marriage certificate?

A marriage certificate in South Dakota records that a marriage has taken place. It can be distinguished from a marriage license, which simply gives a couple the right to a marry but does not record the fact that it has occurred. Your original marriage certificate in South Dakota will likely be recorded on the same document as your marriage license, but it should only be signed after the marriage itself takes place.

Who can get a marriage certificate in South Dakota?

The requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate in South Dakota are explicitly stated in the state’s by-laws. They are:

• The couple is in possession of a marriage license from their local Register of Deeds Office;

• Both partners are either over seventeen or, alternatively, they are sixteen or seventeen but have parental consent;

• The marriage is solemnized within twenty days of the purchase of the marriage license;

• If one spouse was married before, proof of the legal end of the marriage through divorce, annulment or death is given;

• The marriage certificate is returned to the Register of Deeds office no later than ten days after the marriage itself takes place, so there is an official record of the marriage as early as possible.

How do I get a copy of a marriage certificate in South Dakota?

At any point after your marriage, you can request a copy of the marriage certificate in South Dakota. Simply visit your nearest Register of Deeds office and fill out their local application. You’ll need to show some photographic identification and possibly pay a fee. If you are one of the many residents of Minneshaha County, South Dakota’s most heavily populated county, then the fee will be $15.

If there is no record of the marriage at the local Register of Deeds office you visited, then your application will be forwarded to the Department of Health, who will conduct a conclusive survey for your marriage certificate in South Dakota. If no record is found, you will receive notification of this result, but you will not be able to get your fee back once you pay it.

Is there a waiting period?

Once you receive your marriage license, there is no required waiting time as with some states before you can become officially married. Indeed, you can begin to take the steps to turn your marriage license in to a marriage certificate in South Dakota immediately afterward. Furthermore, no blood tests are required to make the marriage legal.

Where do I get a marriage certificate in South Dakota?

The only place to receive a marriage certificate in South Dakota is at your local Register of Deeds Office. These should be located in the county seat of the South Dakota county in which you reside.