LRB-2787/1
SWB:amn&kjf
2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
September 18, 2019 - Introduced by Representatives Wittke, Duchow, Kerkman,
Ballweg, Kulp, Tusler, Zimmerman, Steffen, Hutton, Ramthun and
Skowronski, cosponsored by Senators Kooyenga, Stroebel, Kapenga and
Darling. Referred to Committee on Family Law.
AB457,1,3 1An Act to amend 765.05, 765.08, 765.09 (3) (a), 765.09 (3) (b), 765.12 (2), 765.16
2(1m) (intro.), 765.23 and 765.30 (3) (a) and (b) of the statutes; relating to:
3marriage license application requirements, issuance, and validity.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill makes various changes to the requirements relating to marriage
licenses. Under the bill, an applicant for a marriage license is required to present
a birth record, a driver's license, or other comparable evidence for the purposes of
proof of identification and date of birth. Current law requires that an applicant
exhibit a certified copy of a birth record, but if a birth record is unobtainable, allows
the applicant to present other “satisfactory documentary proof of the requisite facts”
in lieu of the birth record. The bill maintains the provision existing under current
law that if the clerk is not satisfied with the documentary proof presented, the clerk
is required to submit the proof to a judge of a court of record in the county of
application for an opinion as to its sufficiency.
Current law also includes a requirement that the marriage license application
contain the social security number for each party who has a social security number.
This bill maintains that requirement, but specifies that the clerk is prohibited from
requiring an applicant to present his or her social security card issued by the federal
Social Security Administration.
This bill eliminates current law residency requirements and allows parties,
resident or nonresident, to obtain a marriage license in any county of the state. The
bill also reduces the waiting period for a marriage license from five days to three

days. The county clerk retains discretion as under current law to waive the
minimum waiting period and charge a fee of up to $25 to cover any additional
processing cost incurred by the county for expediting the license. This bill extends
the period for which a marriage license is valid from 30 days to 60 days. Finally, this
bill creates an exception to the requirement that two competent adult witnesses
other than the officiating person be present for the solemnization of marriage to be
valid. Under the bill, if one of the parties is in the active military service of the United
States, the presence of only one competent adult witness other than the officiating
person is required.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB457,1 1Section 1. 765.05 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB457,2,11 2765.05 Marriage license; by whom issued. No person may be joined in
3marriage within this state until a marriage license has been obtained for that
4purpose from the county clerk of the any county in which one of the parties has
5resided for at least 30 days immediately prior to making application therefor. If both
6parties are nonresidents of the state, the marriage license may be obtained from the
7county clerk of the county where the marriage ceremony is to be performed
this state.
8If one of the persons is a nonresident of the county where the marriage license is to
9issue
state, the nonresident's part of the application may be completed and sworn to
10or affirmed before the person authorized to accept marriage license applications in
11the county and state in which the nonresident resides.
AB457,2 12Section 2. 765.08 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB457,2,15 13765.08 Application for marriage license. (1) Except as provided in sub.
14(2), no marriage license may be issued within 5 3 days of application for the marriage
15license.
AB457,3,2 16(2) The county clerk may, at his or her discretion, issue a marriage license
17within less than 5 3 days after application if the applicant pays an additional fee

1of not more than $25 to cover any increased processing cost incurred by the county.
2The county clerk shall pay this fee into the county treasury.
AB457,3 3Section 3. 765.09 (3) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB457,3,144 765.09 (3) (a) Each applicant for a marriage license shall present satisfactory,
5documentary proof of identification and residence and shall swear to or affirm the
6application before the clerk who is to issue the marriage license or the person
7authorized to accept marriage license applications in the county and state where the
8party resides. The application shall contain the social security number of each party,
9as well as any other informational items that the department of health services
10directs, but the clerk may not require an applicant to present his or her social security
11card issued by the federal social security administration
. The portion of the marriage
12application form that is collected for statistical purposes only shall indicate that the
13address of the marriage license applicant may be provided by a county clerk to a law
14enforcement officer under the conditions specified under s. 765.20 (2).
AB457,4 15Section 4. 765.09 (3) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB457,3,2516 765.09 (3) (b) Each applicant for a marriage license shall exhibit to the clerk
17a certified copy of a birth record, and each a driver's license, or other comparable
18evidence for proof of identification and date of birth. Each
applicant shall submit a
19copy of any judgment or death record affecting the applicant's marital status. If any
20applicable birth record, death record or judgment is unobtainable, other satisfactory
21documentary proof of the requisite facts therein may be presented in lieu of the birth
22certificate,
death certificate or judgment. Whenever the clerk is not satisfied with
23the documentary proof presented, he or she shall submit the presented proof to a
24judge of a court of record in the county of application for an opinion as to its
25sufficiency.
AB457,5
1Section 5. 765.12 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB457,4,112 765.12 (2) The marriage license shall authorize the marriage ceremony to be
3performed in any county of this state within 30 60 days of issuance, excepting that
4where both parties are nonresidents of the state, the ceremony shall be performed
5only in the county in which the marriage license is issued
. The officiating person
6shall determine that the parties presenting themselves to be married are the parties
7named in the marriage license. If aware of any legal impediment to such marriage,
8the person shall refuse to perform the ceremony. The issuance of a marriage license
9shall not be deemed to remove or dispense with any legal disability, impediment or
10prohibition rendering marriage between the parties illegal, and the marriage license
11shall contain a statement to that effect.
AB457,6 12Section 6. 765.16 (1m) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB457,4,2013 765.16 (1m) (intro.) Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this
14state only after a marriage license has been issued therefor, and only by the mutual
15declarations of the 2 parties to be joined in marriage that they take each other as
16husband and wife, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence
17of at least 2 competent adult witnesses other than the officiating person. If one of
18the parties is in the active military service of the United States, the presence of only
19one competent adult witness other than the officiating person is required.
The
20following are authorized to be officiating persons:
AB457,7 21Section 7. 765.23 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB457,5,11 22765.23 Immaterial irregularities otherwise. No marriage hereafter
23contracted shall be void either by reason of the marriage license having been issued
24by a county clerk not having jurisdiction to issue the same; or by reason of any
25informality or irregularity of form in the application for the marriage license or in

1the marriage license itself, or the incompetency of the witnesses to such marriage;
2or because the marriage may have been solemnized in a county other than the county
3prescribed in s. 765.12,
or more than 30 60 days after the date of the marriage license,
4if the marriage is in other respects lawful and is consummated with the full belief
5on the part of the persons so married, or either of them, that they have been lawfully
6joined in marriage. Where a marriage has been celebrated in one of the forms
7provided for in s. 765.16 (1m), and the parties thereto have immediately thereafter
8assumed the habit and repute of husband and wife, and having continued the same
9uninterruptedly thereafter for the period of one year, or until the death of either of
10them, it shall be deemed that a marriage license has been issued as required by ss.
11765.05 to 765.24 and 767.803.
AB457,8 12Section 8. 765.30 (3) (a) and (b) of the statutes are amended to read:
AB457,5,2113 765.30 (3) (a) Penalty for unlawful solemnization of marriage. Any officiating
14person who solemnizes a marriage unless the contracting parties have first obtained
15a proper marriage license as heretofore provided; or unless the parties to such
16marriage declare that they take each other as husband and wife; or without the
17presence of 2 competent adult witnesses as required under s. 765.16 (1m); or
18solemnizes a marriage knowing of any legal impediment thereto; or solemnizes a
19marriage more than 30 60 days after the date of the marriage license; or falsely
20certifies to the date of a marriage solemnized by the officiating person; or solemnizes
21a marriage in a county other than the county prescribed in s. 765.12
.
AB457,6,222 (b) Penalty for unlawful solemnization by parties. Where a marriage is
23solemnized without the presence of an officiating person if the parties to such
24marriage solemnize the same without the presence of 2 competent adult witnesses
25as required under s. 765.16 (1m) or more than 30 60 days after the date of the license;

1or falsely certify to the date of such marriage; or solemnize the same in a county other
2than the county prescribed in s. 765.12
.
AB457,9 3Section 9. Initial applicability.
AB457,6,54 (1) The treatment of ss. 765.05, 765.08, and 765.09 (3) (a) and (b) first applies
5to applications for marriage licenses received on the effective date of this subsection.
AB457,6,86 (2) The treatment of ss. 765.12 (2), 765.16 (1m) (intro.), 765.23, and 765.30 (3)
7(a) and (b) relating to the length of time issued marriage licenses are valid first
8applies to marriage licenses issued on the effective date of this subsection.
AB457,6,99 (End)
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