765.08(1) (1) Except as provided in sub. (2), no marriage license may be issued within 5 days of application for the marriage license.
765.08(2) (2) The county clerk may, at his or her discretion, issue a marriage license within less than 5 days after application if the applicant pays an additional fee of not more than $25 to cover any increased processing cost incurred by the county. The county clerk shall pay this fee into the county treasury.
765.08 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 48; 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 765.08; 1981 c. 20, 142; 2009 a. 28.
765.09 765.09 Identification of parties; statement of qualifications.
765.09(1)(1)
765.09(1)(a)(a) No application for a marriage license may be made by persons lawfully married to each other and no marriage license may be issued to such persons.
765.09(1)(b) (b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to persons whose marriage to one another is void under s. 765.03 (2) and who intend to intermarry under s. 765.21.
765.09(2) (2) No marriage license may be issued unless the application for it is subscribed by the parties intending to intermarry, contains the social security number of each party who has a social security number and is filed with the clerk who issues the marriage license.
765.09(3) (3)
765.09(3)(a)(a) Each applicant for a marriage license shall present satisfactory, documentary proof of identification and residence and shall swear to or affirm the application before the clerk who is to issue the marriage license or the person authorized to accept marriage license applications in the county and state where the party resides. The application shall contain the social security number of each party, as well as any other informational items that the department of health services directs. The portion of the marriage application form that is collected for statistical purposes only shall indicate that the address of the marriage license applicant may be provided by a county clerk to a law enforcement officer under the conditions specified under s. 765.20 (2).
765.09(3)(b) (b) Each applicant for a marriage license shall exhibit to the clerk a certified copy of a birth certificate, and each applicant shall submit a copy of any judgment or death certificate affecting the applicant's marital status. If any applicable birth certificate, death certificate or judgment is unobtainable, other satisfactory documentary proof of the requisite facts therein may be presented in lieu of the birth certificate, death certificate or judgment. Whenever the clerk is not satisfied with the documentary proof presented, he or she shall submit the presented proof to a judge of a court of record in the county of application for an opinion as to its sufficiency.
765.11 765.11 Objections to marriage.
765.11(1) (1) If any parent, grandparent, child, or natural guardian of a minor applicant for a marriage license, any brother, sister, or guardian of either of the applicants for a marriage license, either of the applicants, the district attorney, or a circuit court commissioner believes that the statements of the application are false or insufficient, or that an applicant is adjudicated incompetent without the right to marry, that person may file with the court having probate jurisdiction in the county in which the marriage license is applied for, a petition under oath, setting forth the grounds of objection to the marriage, and asking for an order requiring the parties making the application to show cause why the marriage license should not be refused. Whereupon, the court, if satisfied that the grounds of objection are prima facie valid, shall issue an order to show cause as aforesaid, returnable as the court directs, but not more than 14 days after the date of the order, which shall be served forthwith upon the applicants for the marriage license residing in the state, and upon the clerk before whom the application has been made, and shall operate as a stay upon the issuance of the marriage license until further ordered; if either or both of the applicants are nonresidents of the state the order shall be served immediately upon the nonresident by publication of a class 1 notice, under ch. 985, in the county in which the application is pending, and by mailing a copy thereof to the nonresident at the address contained in the application.
765.11(2) (2) If, upon hearing, the court finds that the statements in the application are willfully false or insufficient, or that either or both of said parties are not competent in law to marry, the court shall make an order refusing the marriage license, and shall immediately report such matter to the district attorney. If said falseness or insufficiency is due merely to inadvertence, then the court shall permit the parties to amend the application so as to make the statements therein true and sufficient, and upon application being so amended, the marriage license shall be issued. If any party is unable to supply any of the information required in the application, the court may, if satisfied that such inability is not due to willfulness or negligence, order the marriage license to be issued notwithstanding such insufficiency. The costs and disbursements of the proceedings under this section shall rest in the discretion of the court, but none shall be taxed against any district attorney or circuit court commissioner acting in good faith.
765.11 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 48; 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 765.11; 1981 c. 20 ss. 1777v, 2200; 2001 a. 61; 2005 a. 387.
765.12 765.12 Marriage license, when authorized; corrections; contents.
765.12(1)(1)
765.12(1)(a)(a) If ss. 765.02, 765.05, 765.08, and 765.09 are complied with, and if there is no prohibition against or legal objection to the marriage, the county clerk shall issue a marriage license. With each marriage license the county clerk shall provide a pamphlet describing the causes and effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.
765.12(1)(b) (b) If, after completion of the marriage license application, one of the applicants notifies the clerk in writing that any of the information provided by that applicant for the license is erroneous, the clerk shall notify the other applicant of the correction as soon as reasonably possible. If the marriage license has not been issued, the clerk shall prepare a new license with the correct information entered. If the marriage license has been issued, the clerk shall immediately send a letter of correction to the state registrar to amend the erroneous information.
765.12(1)(c) (c) If, after completion of the marriage license application, the clerk discovers that correct information has been entered erroneously, the clerk shall, if the marriage license has not been issued, prepare a new license with the correct information correctly entered. If the marriage license has been issued, the clerk shall immediately send a letter of correction to the state registrar to amend the erroneous information.
765.12(2) (2) The marriage license shall authorize the marriage ceremony to be performed in any county of this state within 30 days of issuance, excepting that where both parties are nonresidents of the state, the ceremony shall be performed only in the county in which the marriage license is issued. The officiating person shall determine that the parties presenting themselves to be married are the parties named in the marriage license. If aware of any legal impediment to such marriage, the person shall refuse to perform the ceremony. The issuance of a marriage license shall not be deemed to remove or dispense with any legal disability, impediment or prohibition rendering marriage between the parties illegal, and the marriage license shall contain a statement to that effect.
765.12 History History: 1977 c. 105; 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (2); 1979 c. 176, 196; Stats. 1979 s. 765.12; 1981 c. 20; 1985 a. 19; 2001 a. 16.
765.13 765.13 Form of marriage document. The marriage document shall consist of the marriage license and the marriage license worksheet. The marriage license shall contain a notification of the time limits of the authorization to marry, a notation that the issue of the marriage license shall not be deemed to remove or dispense with any legal disability, impediment or prohibition rendering marriage between the parties illegal, and the signature of the county clerk, who shall acquire the information for the marriage document and enter it in its proper place when the marriage license is issued. The marriage license worksheet shall contain the social security number of each party, as well as any other information items that the department of health services determines are necessary and shall agree in the main with the standard form recommended by the federal agency responsible for national vital statistics. The county clerk shall transmit the marriage license worksheet to the state registrar within 5 days after the date of issuance of the marriage license.
765.13 History History: 1977 c. 418; 1979 c. 32 s. 48; Stats. 1979 s. 765.13; 1981 c. 20; 1995 a. 27 s. 9126 (19); 1997 a. 191; 2001 a. 16; 2007 a. 20 s. 9121 (6) (a).
765.14 765.14 Form of marriage document when solemnized by parties. If the marriage is to be solemnized by the parties without an officiating person, as provided by s. 765.16 (1m) (c), the marriage document shall contain all those items and notations as required by s. 765.13.
765.14 History History: 1977 c. 418; 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (2); Stats. 1979 s. 765.14; 1981 c. 20; 2013 a. 372.
765.15 765.15 Fee to county clerk. Each county clerk shall receive as a fee for each license granted the sum of $49.50, of which $24.50 shall become a part of the funds of the county, and $25 shall be paid into the state treasury. The county shall use $20 of the amount that it retains from each license fee only for expenses incurred under s. 767.405. The county may, but is not required to, use any or all of the remainder of the amount that it retains for education, training, or services related to domestic violence. Each county board may increase the license fee of $49.50 by any amount, which amount shall become a part of the funds of the county.
765.15 History History: 1971 c. 125; 1979 c. 32 s. 48; 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 765.15; 1981 c. 20; 1985 a. 29; 1991 a. 269; 2003 a. 225; 2005 a. 443 s. 265; 2013 a. 20.
765.16 765.16 Marriage contract, how made; officiating person.
765.16(1m)(1m) Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this state only after a marriage license has been issued therefor, and only by the mutual declarations of the 2 parties to be joined in marriage that they take each other as husband and wife, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least 2 competent adult witnesses other than the officiating person. The following are authorized to be officiating persons:
765.16(1m)(a) (a) Any ordained member of the clergy of any religious denomination or society who continues to be an ordained member of the clergy.
765.16(1m)(b) (b) Any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular member of the clergy of any church of the denomination to which the member of the clergy belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of the church or denomination.
765.16(1m)(c) (c) The 2 parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties may belong.
765.16(1m)(d) (d) Any judge of a court of record or a reserve judge appointed under s. 753.075.
765.16(1m)(e) (e) Any circuit court commissioner appointed under SCR 75.02 (1) or supplemental court commissioner appointed under s. 757.675 (1).
765.16(1m)(f) (f) Any municipal judge.
765.16(2m) (2m) An officiating person under sub. (1m) (a), (b), (d), (e), or (f) must be at least 18 years old.
765.16 History History: 1977 c. 323; 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (4); 1979 c. 176, 259; Stats. 1979 s. 765.16; 1981 c. 20 s. 2200; 1985 a. 29; 1991 a. 315; 1999 a. 85; 2001 a. 61; 2013 a. 372.
765.19 765.19 Delivery and filing of marriage document. The marriage document, legibly and completely filled out with unfading black ink, shall be returned by the officiating person, or, in the case of a marriage ceremony performed without an officiating person, then by the parties to the marriage contract, or either of them, to the register of deeds of the county in which the marriage was performed within 3 days after the date of the marriage.
765.19 History History: 1977 c. 418; 1979 c. 32 s. 48; 1979 c. 221, 355; Stats. 1979 s. 765.19; 1981 c. 20; 1983 a. 221.
765.20 765.20 Records and forms.
765.20(1)(1) The state registrar of vital statistics shall prescribe forms for blank applications, statement, consent of parents, affidavits, documents and other forms as are necessary to comply with the provisions of this chapter. The county clerk shall keep among the records in the office a suitable book called the marriage license docket and shall enter therein a complete record of the applications for and the issuing of all marriage licenses, and of all other matters which the clerk is required by this chapter to ascertain relative to the rights of any person to obtain a marriage license. An application may be recorded by entering into the docket the completed application form, with any portion collected only for statistical purposes removed. The marriage license docket shall be open for public inspection or examination at all times during office hours.
765.20(2) (2) A county clerk may provide the name of a marriage license applicant and, from the portion of the marriage application form that is collected for statistical purposes, as specified under sub. (1), may provide the address of the marriage license applicant to a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 51.01 (11). A county clerk shall provide the name and, if it is available, the address, to a law enforcement officer who requests, in writing, the name and address for the performance of an investigation or the service of a warrant. If a county clerk has not destroyed the portion of the marriage license application form that is collected for statistical purposes, he or she shall keep the information on the portion confidential, except as authorized under this subsection. If a written request is made by a law enforcement officer under this subsection, the county clerk shall keep the request with the marriage license application form. If the county clerk destroys the marriage license application form, he or she shall also destroy the written request.
765.20 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 48; 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 765.20; 1981 c. 20; 1995 a. 469; 2001 a. 107.
765.21 765.21 Unlawful marriages void; validation. All marriages hereafter contracted in violation of ss. 765.02, 765.03, 765.04 and 765.16 shall be void, except as provided in ss. 765.22 and 765.23. The parties to any such marriage may validate the marriage by complying with the requirements of ss. 765.02 to 765.24 as follows:
765.21(1) (1) At any time, if the marriage is declared void under s. 765.02 or 765.16.
765.21(2) (2) No earlier than 6 months after the divorce judgment is granted, if the marriage is declared void under s. 765.03 (2).
765.21 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 48; Stats. 1979 s. 765.21; 1985 a. 103, 135.
765.22 765.22 Immaterial irregularities as to authority of person officiating. No marriage hereafter contracted shall be void by reason of want of authority or jurisdiction in the officiating person solemnizing such marriage, if the marriage is in other respects lawful, and is consummated with the full belief on the part of the persons so married, or either of them, that they have been lawfully joined in marriage.
765.22 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 48; Stats. 1979 s. 765.22.
765.23 765.23 Immaterial irregularities otherwise. No marriage hereafter contracted shall be void either by reason of the marriage license having been issued by a county clerk not having jurisdiction to issue the same; or by reason of any informality or irregularity of form in the application for the marriage license or in the marriage license itself, or the incompetency of the witnesses to such marriage; or because the marriage may have been solemnized in a county other than the county prescribed in s. 765.12, or more than 30 days after the date of the marriage license, if the marriage is in other respects lawful and is consummated with the full belief on the part of the persons so married, or either of them, that they have been lawfully joined in marriage. Where a marriage has been celebrated in one of the forms provided for in s. 765.16 (1m), and the parties thereto have immediately thereafter assumed the habit and repute of husband and wife, and having continued the same uninterruptedly thereafter for the period of one year, or until the death of either of them, it shall be deemed that a marriage license has been issued as required by ss. 765.05 to 765.24 and 767.803.
765.23 History History: 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (2); Stats. 1979 s. 765.23; 1981 c. 20 s. 2200; 1981 c. 314 s. 146; 2005 a. 443 s. 265; 2013 a. 372.
765.24 765.24 Removal of impediments to subsequent marriage. If a person during the lifetime of a husband or wife with whom the marriage is in force, enters into a subsequent marriage contract in accordance with s. 765.16, and the parties thereto live together thereafter as husband and wife, and such subsequent marriage contract was entered into by one of the parties in good faith, in the full belief that the former husband or wife was dead, or that the former marriage had been annulled, or dissolved by a divorce, or without knowledge of such former marriage, they shall, after the impediment to their marriage has been removed by the death or divorce of the other party to such former marriage, if they continue to live together as husband and wife in good faith on the part of one of them, be held to have been legally married from and after the removal of such impediment and the issue of such subsequent marriage shall be considered as the marital issue of both parents.
765.24 History History: 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (2); Stats. 1979 s. 765.24; 1983 a. 447.
765.24 Annotation A 2nd marriage entered into while the plaintiff was already married will not be annulled when the plaintiff did not live with the 2nd husband after the first husband died. Smith v. Smith, 52 Wis. 2d 262, 190 N.W.2d 174 (1971).
765.24 Annotation Public policy favors upholding a marriage attacked as void by a 3rd party as well as by a party to a marriage. Corning v. Carriers Insurance Co. 88 Wis. 2d 17, 276 N.W.2d 310 (Ct. App. 1979).
765.24 Annotation The equitable doctrine of "clean hands" precluded the defendant from obtaining an annulment of a marriage to the plaintiff. A voidable marriage became valid upon the removal of the impediment to the marriage. Halker v. Halker, 92 Wis. 2d 645, 285 N.W.2d 745 (1979).
765.24 Annotation A husband was estopped from challenging the validity of his wife's divorce from her first husband. Schlinder v. Schlinder, 107 Wis. 2d 695, 321 N.W.2d 343 (Ct. App. 1982).
765.30 765.30 Penalties.
765.30(1)(1) The following may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both:
765.30(1)(a) (a) Penalty for marriage outside the state to circumvent the laws. Any person residing and intending to continue to reside in this state who goes outside the state and there contracts a marriage prohibited or declared void under the laws of this state.
765.30(2) (2) The following may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both:
765.30(2)(a) (a) Penalty for false statement. Any person who in any affidavit or statement made under s. 765.02 (2), 765.09 or 765.11, willfully and falsely swears, or who procures another to swear falsely in regard to any material fact relating to the competency of either or both of the parties applying for a marriage license, or as to the ages of such parties, if minors, or who falsely pretends to be the parent or guardian having authority to give consent to the marriage of such minor.
765.30(2)(b) (b) Penalty for unlawful issuance of marriage license. Any county clerk who knowingly issues a marriage license contrary to or in violation of this chapter.
765.30(2)(c) (c) Penalty for false solemnization of marriage. Any person, not being duly authorized by the laws of this state, who intentionally undertakes to solemnize a marriage in this state; or any person who intentionally participates in or in any way aids or abets any false or fictitious marriage.
765.30(3) (3) The following shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500, or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both:
765.30(3)(a) (a) Penalty for unlawful solemnization of marriage. Any officiating person who solemnizes a marriage unless the contracting parties have first obtained a proper marriage license as heretofore provided; or unless the parties to such marriage declare that they take each other as husband and wife; or without the presence of 2 competent adult witnesses; or solemnizes a marriage knowing of any legal impediment thereto; or solemnizes a marriage more than 30 days after the date of the marriage license; or falsely certifies to the date of a marriage solemnized by the officiating person; or solemnizes a marriage in a county other than the county prescribed in s. 765.12.
765.30(3)(b) (b) Penalty for unlawful solemnization by parties. Where a marriage is solemnized without the presence of an officiating person if the parties to such marriage solemnize the same without the presence of 2 competent adult witnesses or more than 30 days after the date of the license; or falsely certify to the date of such marriage; or solemnize the same in a county other than the county prescribed in s. 765.12.
765.30(4) (4) The following shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $200, or imprisoned not more than 3 months, or both:
765.30(4)(a) (a) Penalty for failure to file marriage certificate. Every officiating person, or persons marrying without the presence of an officiating person, as provided by s. 765.16 (1m) (c), who neglect or refuse to transmit the original marriage certificate, solemnized by the officiating person or the persons marrying, to the register of deeds of the county in which the marriage was performed within 3 days after the date of the marriage.
765.30(4)(b) (b) Penalty for violations relating to records. Any county clerk who refuses or neglects to enter upon the marriage license docket a complete record of each application, and of each marriage license issued from the clerk's office, immediately after the same has been made or issued, as the case may be, or fails to keep such marriage license docket open for inspection or examination by the public during office hours, or prohibits or prevents any person from making a copy or abstract of the entries in the marriage license docket.
765.30(5) (5) The following shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $50:
765.30(5)(a) (a) Penalty for other violations. Any person violating any provision of this chapter for which no other penalty is provided.
765.30 History History: 1977 c. 418; 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (2); 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 765.30; 1981 c. 20, 390; 1983 a. 221; 1993 a. 486; 1997 a. 283; 2001 a. 109; 2013 a. 372.
765.31 765.31 Action to recover penalties. Any fine or forfeiture imposed under s. 765.30 may be recovered in the same manner as other debts are recovered with the usual costs, in any court of record in any county in this state in which the defendant may be found.
765.31 History History: 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (2); Stats. 1979 s. 765.31.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2013 Wis. Act 380 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before Sept. 3, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after Sept. 3, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 9-3-14)