Ohio Marriage FAQs

Learn the answers to common questions about marriage in Ohio.

Ohio is one of a small number of states that recognizes common law marriage -- but only if you've been together for a long time.

Who may marry in Ohio?

Ohio law provides that males may marry at the age of 18 and females at the age of 16. Those who are younger must first obtain consent to marry.

Only opposite-sex couples are currently permitted to obtain a marriage license in Ohio. Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriage, nor same-sex divorce. Ohio law also does not currently allow opposite-sex couples to marry if they were of the same biological sex at birth (that is prior to one's gender reassignment surgery).

Does Ohio recognize common law marriages?

Yes and no. A common law marriage entered into in Ohio before October 10, l991 constitutes a valid, legal marriage in Ohio. On October 10, l991, Ohio abolished common law marriage. After that date, no new common law marriages can be formed.

What are the requirements for a common law marriage in Ohio?

A common law marriage exists only if all of the following are true:

  • The couple has a mutual agreement of marriage "in praesenti" (presently).
  • Both people are competent to marry (that is, of age and so on).
  • The couple has sexually consummated the marriage and lives together.
  • The couple holds themselves out to the public as husband and wife.
  • The couple has a reputation in the community as husband and wife.
  • The marriage was entered into before October 10, 1991.
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