Marriages and Civil Unions

Get your License Remotely

Effective January 1, 2021, the Recording and Marriages division will conduct online video appointments to process marriage license applications to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and to protect the public and our staff from risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Both parties must be present, together in the same room, and in Colorado for the video appointment. IDs will be verified during the meeting. The parties must plan to marry in the state of Colorado.

To set an online video appointment, you must have:

Step 1.Book an appointment for a video session to verify IDs, submit payment, and issue the license application

  • Book an appointment with us
  • Download the free Microsoft Teams in advance of your appointment (Teams is free and available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices)

Step 2.Watch for the email confirming your meeting appointment

  • Your confirmation email includes the meeting link you'll need to use when it is time for your appointment

Step 3.Complete your appointment

  • Credit card payment will be required during the appointment
  • Both parties must show a valid form of identification during the appointment

Step 4.Verify, sign, and complete your documents

  • Once the application process and online appointment is completed, your application and marriage license will be mailed to you at the Colorado address provided on your marriage application
  • The documents will be only be mailed to an address within the state of Colorado
  • Both parties must check the last four digits of their Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Both parties must sign the application
  • Complete the certificate portion of the license certificate on the day of your marriage. 

Step 5.Return BOTH the signed application and completed license certificate

  • A pre-addressed envelope will be provided, but you will need to provide sufficient postage
  • You can also submit your documentation to us by using our drop box, located outside the 15th Street and Court Place entrance to the Wellington E. Webb Building, at 201 W. Colfax Ave.

Important:  Your license will not be recorded and will not be considered valid if the signed documents are not returned.

 

Apply Online

To speed the process of getting your license, fill out our online application prior to your appointment.

Some tips to help you:

  • You still have to make an appointment with our staff to complete the marriage license process.
  • You do not need to log in or create an account to complete an application. 
  • The button below will take you to our online service portal, where you can complete your application. Once you are on that site, click the "Marriage Application" button or the "Civil Union Application" button on the upper right-hand side of the page to proceed to the appropriate application (as pictured in the screenshot below).

 

Screenshot Showing Marriage License Application Button

Get an Appointment

Our appointment availability opens up 28 days in advance and slots fill up quickly. Be sure to check back frequently, as cancellations do occur.

Be sure to select "CCD Clerk and Recorder" from the "Location" drop down menu to ensure your appointment is with our office. We can't accommodate appointments made at other city agencies.

Make your appointment

Learn More

Requirements and Procedures

How to Apply For a Marriage or Civil Union License

To apply for a license, both you and your partner must appear in person at the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, located on the first floor of the Webb Municipal Office Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver.

Save time by applying online. Check out this guide (PDF) to help you sail through the application process.

Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our office is closed on municipal holidays.

Questions you will be asked

  • The date that you are getting married
  • Where you are marrying (license only valid in Colorado) 
  • The exact date and location of your divorce or previous spouse's death. Both parties must be able to provide this information. If you were previously in a civil union and are marrying someone else, you must provide the name of your partner in the civil union.
  • Know your relationship if related by blood
  • The city and state where parents of both parties were born

Things to know

  • The marriage license fee is $30, payable by cash, check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover). A list of fees can be found here.
  • You may marry in front of a judge, through a religious ceremony, or by self-solemnizing (this means you marry by signing the certificate yourselves) 
  • The certificate must be signed in Colorado within 35 days from the date the license was issued
  • The completed marriage certificate (and attached license) must be returned to the Clerk and Recorder for recording within 63 days after solemnization. After that date, late fees will apply
  • Blood tests are not required in Colorado, and there is no waiting period
  • Applicants need not be Colorado residents

You and your intended spouse each must present one of these valid forms of identification

  • U.S. state-issued driver's license or permit
  • U.S. state-issued ID
  • U.S. military ID
  • Passport that is bilingual or multilingual and includes English or passport with a certified English language translation if non-English

The name on the license will appear exactly as it is on the IDs provided to us.

You are required to provide a Social Security number if you have one. If one of the parties does not have a Social Security number (they are from another country or they are in the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship), they are not required to have one to get married.

Please Note: Birth certificates, baptismal certificates and Foreign Consular IDs are not acceptable forms of identification for marriage or civil union licenses. A birth certificate may be used to confirm date of birth when presented along with one of the valid forms of identification listed above. 

Minors and those remarrying have additional requirements. See the accompanying section for information on remarriages. 

Ceremonies, Officials & Self Solemnization

Your marriage must be solemnized; then the marriage application and certificate must be recorded.

A marriage may be solemnized by an officiant who has been ordained or recognized by a religious denomination, a judge of a court, a retired judge, a court magistrate, a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, a Native American tribal official or a friend or relative who is ordained.

Clergy ordained out of state do not need to be registered in Colorado to perform a wedding. 

Denver County Court maintains a list of judges who perform weddings during the week, on weekends, and in the evenings.

The solemnizing official will complete your marriage certificate.

Self Solemnization

You and your intended spouse may solemnize your own marriage. Neither witnesses nor officiant are required for a valid self solemnization. Proxy marriages may not be self solemnized.

Other Important Information

The marriage license and marriage certificate are two distinct instruments that appear on the single form. Please do not separate them.  The marriage certificate must be recorded no later than 63 days from the date of solemnization or late fees apply.

Filling Out the Certificate

The license and the certificate are on the same document. These should not be separated. The license gives the couple permission to marry. The certificate documents when and where the couple married. See these examples of how to fill out the marriage certificate.

Name Changes

We hope this guide helps you navigate changing your name more easily. Certified copies of the marriage certificate are helpful. They can be purchased at our office or through the mail. Certified copies cost $1.25 each.

Widowed or Divorced?

If you are widowed or divorced (or your civil union has been dissolved) and wish to apply for a new marriage license, you must provide the exact date (month, day and year) and location of your spouse's/partner's death or of your divorce. If you were in a civil union with another person, you must have dissolved that civil union to marry a different person. You will need to provide the name of the person on the marriage application.

If you are divorced you also must provide:

  • the location (city and state) of your divorce;
  • the type (district, superior, circuit, etc.) of court in which your divorce proceeding occurred; and
  • a certified copy of your divorce decree if your divorce was final within 30 days preceding the date you apply for a marriage license.
  • A copy of your divorce decree can be obtained at the Office of Vital Record

PLEASE NOTE:  If you obtained a Civil Union License and wish to be married, please apply online for a marriage license. Bring your application and IDs into the office and pay $30 for your license.

Common Law Marriage

Colorado recognizes common law marriage as legal and binding. However, cohabitation alone does not constitute common law marriage. For more information on common law marriage or to get a sample Affidavit of Common Law Marriage, see the State of Colorado website concerning marriage law.

 A common law marriage cannot be terminated except by court dissolution (divorce) or death.

Prohibited Marriages & Civil Unions

Prohibited Marriages

The following marriages are prohibited in the State of Colorado:

  • A marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of either of the parties, unless the earlier marriage is a currently valid marriage between the two applicant parties.

  • A marriage between an ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, uncle and niece, or aunt and nephew, whether the relationship is by half or whole blood.

Marriage between first cousins, whether the relationship is by half or whole blood, is permitted in Colorado.

Prohibited Civil Unions

The following civil unions are prohibited in the State of Colorado:

  • A civil union where one or both partners are minors (under the age of 18).

  • A civil union entered into prior to the termination of a marriage or civil union of either of the parties, unless the earlier marriage or civil union is currently valid between the two applicant parties.

  • A civil union between an ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, uncle and niece, or aunt and nephew, whether the relationship is by half or whole blood.  

Civil union between first cousins, whether the relationship is by half or whole blood, is permitted in Colorado.

Absentee Marriages & Civil Unions

If either you or your partner cannot appear at the Clerk and Recorder's office in person to apply for your marriage or civil union license, the absent party must complete an absentee affidavit and have it notarized. The notarized absentee affidavit must be used within 30 days from the date it was notarized.
 
The party appearing in person must present, on the behalf of the absent partner:

  • the completed and notarized absentee affidavit, and
  • a clear and legible photocopy of a valid form of identification of the absent intended spouse (faxes not accepted)
  • the identification of the absent intended spouse must have the month, day and year of birth 
  • If the absent party does not have a social security number, an affidavit to accompany the marriage license form must be completed and notarized.
  • The absent party's name written on the forms must match exactly to the ID provided.

The absentee application and affidavit to accompany marriage license may be found on the forms page.

Recording a Marriage or Civil Union

The completed license and certificate must be returned to the Office of the Clerk and Recorder within 63 days after the ceremony for recording.

Please do not separate the certificate from the license. You may use the return envelope given to you at the time of application or return the certificate in person.

Recording enters your license and certificate into the official record. After recording, the original form will be returned to you by mail at the return address you supplied at the time of application.

There is no fee for recording your license and certificate.  However, if you return your civil union certificate for recording later than 63 days after certification, late fees will apply.  Please see our Fees page for more information.

Proxy Marriage

A proxy marriage license may be granted to an absent person who is:

  • A member of the armed forces of the United States who is stationed in another country or in another state in support of combat or military operation; or
  • A government contractor, or an employee of a government contractor, working or in support of US military operations in another country or in another state

Requirements for applying for a marriage license for a proxy marriage are:

  • One party is a resident of Colorado;
  • One party appears in person to apply for the marriage license and pays the required fees;
  • The signatures of both parties to the proxy marriage are required, and the party present shall sign the marriage license application and provide an absentee affidavit form containing the notarized signature of the absent party, along with proper identification  documents required for a marriage license for the absent party; and
  • Both parties (and the proxy) are 18 years of age or older.
  • The proxy for the absent spouse must be the person named on the Power of Attorney form, must have a valid ID and must be present to apply for the marriage license.

Self-solemnization is not allowed in a marriage by proxy.

You must have a notarized Marriage Ceremony Proxy Power of Attorney form. The spouse who can be present and the proxy must both present a valid ID when applying for the license.

Frequently asked questions about Marriage by Proxy

Q. What documents can I use to prove Colorado residency?

A. Colorado driver’s license, lease agreement, utility bill, or a voter registration card are all acceptable forms of ID. Only one of these documents is necessary.

Q. What documents can I use to prove active duty military status and deployment?

A. Your Orders (a copy of the written document) will be proof. Still have questions? Please email marriages@denvergov.org.

Marriage of Minors

You must be 18 years of age or older to marry in Colorado, with the following exception:

· A person who is 16 or 17 years of age may obtain a marriage license if a juvenile court determines that the underage party is capable of assuming the responsibilities of marriage and the marriage would serve the underage party's best interests. Prior to making a determination, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the underage party to investigate the underage party's circumstances and best interests and to file a report with the court stating the issuance of a marriage license is in the underage party's best interests.

· A person under the age of 16 is prohibited from obtaining a marriage license.

For additional information please refer to HB19-1316.

Committed/Domestic Partnership Registry

The City and County of Denver allows couples who are not married to recognize their commitment through the Committed Partnership Registry. 

The registry is open to any two partners who:

  • are unmarried, eighteen years of age or older, and competent to enter into a contract;

  • are not prohibited from marrying each other under the law of this state by reason of a blood relationship or other comparable domestic partnership;

  • are sharing a common household; and

  • do not already have different partners under the provisions of the Denver Committed Partnership Ordinance, the Colorado Civil Unions Act or any other comparable domestic partnership provision.   

View the Committed Partnership requirements.
Read D.R.M.C. § 28-200, Committed Partnerships Ordinance.

How to Register

Both partners must appear together at the Office of the Clerk and Recorder and fill out a Certificate of Committed Partnership. This is a sample of a certificate. 

The certificate is filled out and attested to in the presence of the Clerk who will sign the certificate. A completed original certificate is issued to the partnership. The fee for committed partnership certification and registry is $25.

Certificates of committed partnerships and the Committed Partnership Registry are public records. 

What Registration Does

Registration of your committed partnership creates a public record of your relationship. It provides evidence that your relationship has met the requirements for committed partnership defined by ordinance. An employer or other party may or may not offer committed partnership benefits based on this registry.

What Registration Does Not Do

Registering as committed partners does not constitute marriage under the laws of the State of Colorado nor change your legal rights with your partner. Registration does not affect your property, contract, inheritance, custody, or benefit rights nor any other legal entitlements. It does not provide for name changes. To provide for such rights committed partners may need to execute medical and/or general powers of attorney, wills, and/or other legal instruments. Consult your attorney.

Terminating a Committed Partnership

A committed partnership is terminated by:

  • the marriage or death of either partner;
  • both partners filing with the Denver Clerk and Recorder a Certificate of Termination of Committed Partnership; or
  • either partner filing the termination certificate with the Clerk and Recorder and sending a copy thereof to the other partner by registered mail, return receipt requested.

Designated Beneficiaries

A Designated Beneficiary Agreement is a contract between two people ensuring certain rights and financial protections based upon the completed document. To be legally enforceable it must be properly recorded by the Clerk and Recorder.

Designated Beneficiary Agreements become effective once the completed, signed and notarized form is received by the Clerk and Recorder’s office in a county where at least one of the parties resides.

Bring your completed and notarized Designated Beneficiary Agreement to the Recording department in the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver. The recording fee is listed on the Fees page.

Revocation

Designated Beneficiary Agreements may be revoked. The revocation form may be found on the Forms page. Entering into a marriage or civil union will automatically revoke a pre-existing designated beneficiary agreement.