Guide to Indiana Marriage Records
Table of Contents
- What Are Indiana Marriage Records and How Are They Stored?
- Marriage Statistics in the State
- How to Find Indiana Marriage Records
- What Is NOT Included in Marriage Records and Potential Errors and Omissions
- Official Copies and Certificates
- District Clerk Directory
- FAQ on Marriage Records in Indiana
- External Links
Marriage records – a romantic keepsake of what's colloquially called "the most stressful event of your life". Alongside the marriage certificate, records are an invaluable document that proves the legitimacy of marriages with Indiana and serve various legal and genealogical purposes.
There may be minor differences in how they are handled between states. This guide delves into Indiana marriage records, what they are, and how to access them for future needs.
What Are Indiana Marriage Records and How Are They Stored?
An Indiana marriage record is a legal document covering a specific union in the state. These records contain minor personal information, but nothing more than a nosy in-law could find in a basic social media search.
Indiana Marriage Records typically include the following information, but the listed information may vary by county:
- Full names of the individuals involved in the marriage
- Reason for ending the previous marriage
- Dates of birth
- Marriage date and location
- The officiant's name and information
- Witnesses' names
Unlike divorce records, which are handled solely by the county of origin, Indiana marriage records are kept by both county clerks and the Department of Health. However, the Department of Health can only provide unofficial copies of marriage records from the State Library.
Colloquially, there are several ways people refer to marriage records. Couples may call the county clerk asking for their marriage license or marriage certificate. The confusion is understandable, and the clerk will likely understand that you're requesting a marriage record regardless. However, they're not necessarily the same things.
The most common mix-up is referring to the marriage license as the record. Even the Indiana Department of Health sometimes uses the terms interchangeably.
A marriage license is a permit that states that a couple is legally allowed to wed. It's processed by a state office (county court) and proves there are no disqualifying factors to prevent two people from marrying.
Understand that receiving a marriage license does not mean the couple is married. Treat it as a permission slip that your officiant and witnesses must sign to make the marriage official.
Nowadays, the difference between marriage certificates and marriage records is more about historical nuance. Initially, the state distributed marriage records, and the church gave out marriage certificates. This meant that certificates did not constitute official proof of marriage for legal purposes.
However, the line has blurred, and most states use the terms certificates and records interchangeably. In fact, most websites opt for the term certificates when describing the document.
Marriage Statistics in the State
Tracking marriage statistics is a big job for any state. There's a slew of legal benefits married couples reap, and keeping accurate numbers for marriages and divorces saves billions.
Couples entering a union, or those already married, can also gain insight through divorce statistics in Indiana. Statistics are separated by age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and many other filters. This categorization allows people to look at problems faced by couples in similar situations for themselves.
Here are some of the collected marriage statistics in Indiana:
- Marriage Rates: Indiana's marriage rates have historically remained incredibly close to the national average over the past three decades. Between 1990 and 2021, both statistics have fallen from roughly 9.5 to 6 marriages per thousand citizens.
- Average Marrying Age: According to Indiana's Department of Health marriage report, the median marrying age was 30.0, while the average was slightly higher at 33.6 years.
- Education Levels: Most married individuals in Indiana (72.4 percent) had not completed four years of college. This goes against a national trend, which recorded 65 percent of Americans with a four-year degree as married.
- Divorce Rates: The US Census Bureau shows a below-average divorce rate for Indiana (8 percent) compared to the national average (10 percent). However, in 2020, multiple Indiana cities displayed some of the highest divorce rates in the nation. These cities are Anderson, Evansville, and Richmond.
How to Find Indiana Marriage Records
Locating Indiana marriage records can be troublesome, particularly if you've moved or it's been a long time since the ceremony. There are many reasons to want a marriage record, and it doesn't necessarily need to be your record.
Indiana marriage records are considered public information, and citizens can put forward a reasonable request to receive a copy. Some reasons someone might ask for marriage records include:
- Genealogical research
- Updating legal documents (driver's license, passport, etc)
- Registering for life insurance policies
- Handling custody battles
The State Library stores records for public access, but these are not official copies and can't be used as proof of marriage.This portal only contains marriage information between the years 1958 to 2021. The portal does not collect data on marriages after that point.
The portal also provides a substantiative list of subscription resources that work in tandem with the state. These resources are primarily helpful for genealogical questions but can't give an official marriage record.
Citizens seeking an official marriage record must do so through the county clerk's office that initially filed the paperwork. The process is relatively easy if you know the correct information. When requesting, you must provide:
- The date of marriage
- Full names of the bride and groom
- Credit or debit card
Requestors may also visit Indiana Courts and fill out State Form 54764 to purchase a copy of Record of Marriage.
Some third-party services offer to contact the county clerk's office in your stead. However, you'll need to provide this service with similar information and pay additional fees. Using these services could also increase how long it takes to get the marriage record.
A directory for Indiana courts and clerks can be found here.
What Is NOT Included in Marriage Records and Potential Errors and Omissions
While Indiana Marriage Records provide valuable information, they don't include unnecessary information. The recorded data is to document the marriage and supplement future legal processes like name changes or divorce proceedings.
Sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers and financial account details, are excluded from marriage records to prevent identity theft or misuse of information.
Potential errors and omissions in marriage records can occur, such as misspelled names, date inaccuracies, or incomplete information. These can become a big deal as an error may be enough to void your marriage license.
Official Copies and Certificates
Whether you need an official or unofficial record will depend on your reasons for searching. Generally, if you need the information, there's no reason to find an official document in Indiana.
Official copies of marriage certificates are strictly the domain of county clerks. You must know the marrying county, but another county may be able to help you track down the information. However, your best bet is to contact the Indiana Department of Health. The Department of Health CANNOT issue official copies but can provide the information required to kick-start your search.
District Clerk Directory
If you have the necessary information at hand, your marriage records are just a call away. If you're having trouble recalling the specific county you tied the knot in, here are the top ten Indiana counties by population and the contact details of the corresponding district clerks.
|Kate Sweeney Bell
|Michael A. Brown
|Christopher M. Nancarrow
|Kathy Kreag Williams
|St. Joseph County
FAQ on Marriage Records in Indiana
How long will it take to get a copy of my marriage record in Indiana?
Different counties in Indiana have varying workloads and processing times. In general, you can expect a certified copy of your marriage record within 10 to 15 business days after putting in the request.
Who can request marriage records in Indiana?
According to Indiana Code Title 16, the state only allows access to records if the requestor satisfies the following requirements:
- The applicant has a direct interest in the matter recorded.
- That the information is necessary for the determination of personal or property rights or for compliance with state or federal law.
The first stipulation applies to the marriage participants and possibly direct family members. The latter requires strict documentation proving they require the records for legal matters.
How much does it cost to request a marriage record?
Whether you appear in person or call on the phone, Indiana code requires the Clerk's Office to charge $3.00 per page and $1.00 for document certification. Marriage records are a single page, so if you want an official copy, you'll pay $4.00.
If you visit the Indiana Courts directly, you may request a search for your marriage record for $8.00.
How much does a marriage license cost?
The Indiana marriage license fee is $25.00 for Indiana residents. This price applies even if only one party is a resident. If both parties are out-of-state, the marriage license fee jumps to $65.00.
Some offices have an added document charge of $4.00 and every additional copy of a marriage license is another $4.00.
Can I request an online or digital copy of a marriage record?
Unfortunately, digital copies of a marriage record aren't properly certified and cannot serve as proof. Some clerk's offices provide emails for marriage record requests but still require your physical mailing address to receive a copy of your marriage record. If you only need the information on a marriage, you may be able to find it in the Indiana State Library online database.