Probate Court’s Role in Marriage

Unrelated to the other functions of the Probate Courts in South Carolina, this court is responsible for issuing marriage licenses. Therefore, if you want to (or just have to) get married in the state of South Carolina, you need to be aware of the following requirements.

First, the bride and groom must appear together at the Probate Court and file a written application. You do not have to be a resident of South Carolina to apply, nor do you have to apply in the county where you plan to marry. The cost vary per county but average around $40 – $70 (often required in cash). The application will ask for the full name, social security number, age, and place of residence of the bride and the groom. The application is a sworn statement that must be signed by the bride and the groom and then notarized in the office of the probate judge. It’s important to bring proper identification (passport or a driver’s license is best) with you to the court. And, if you are under 18, you will have to drag a parent and birth certificate along as well.

Once the application is filed, you must wait 24 hours before picking up your license. So, plan ahead and don’t wait until the Friday prior to the wedding to apply. Judges in South Carolina can not waive the waiting period regardless of how much money you have spent on your upcoming nuptials.
In South Carolina, marriage licenses do not expire so there is no harm in getting yours early. However, just like a driver’s license – just because you have it doesn’t mean you MUST use it. Marry with caution.

​Other interesting tidbits about marriage in South Carolina:
  • Despite rumors to the contrary, common law marriage does still exist in South Carolina. A couple living together in our state would be wise to understand how it works.
  • Yes, it’s true. You can marry your cousin in South Carolina.
  • There is no minimum time between a divorce and remarriage; however, some counties will ask for a copy of the divorce decree if it’s been less than 1 year. Be prepared to provide it.
  • Blood tests are not required.
  • You can be married by a notary or clergy member.
  • While the Probate Court may issue you the license to get married, it is the Family Court’s responsibility to help you get a divorce! If you’ve made a mistake, check out our page on domestic law and let us help you!