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Marriage is prohibited between a person and his or her:
- brother or sister
- grandparent's spouse
- spouse's grandparent
- aunt or uncle
- spouse’s parent
- spouse’s grandchild
- grandchild's spouse
- niece or nephew
- child's spouse
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law § 2-202
Same sex marriage is legal in Maryland, as long as the law does not otherwise prohibit the individuals from marrying (for example, where they are closely related).
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law § 2–201
To marry without parental consent, a person must be at least 18 years old. Individuals under 17 cannot marry in Maryland, under any circumstances.
An individual who is 17 years old may marry under certain circumstances. A 17 year old must complete step 1 and step 2 described below to apply for a marriage license:
- The individual has the consent of each living parent, guardian, or legal custodian; OR,
- If the individual does not have the consent of each living parent, guardian, or legal custodian, either party to be married provides a certificate from a licensed physician, physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner confirming that the woman to be married is pregnant or has given birth.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law § 2-301
With or without parental consent, an individual who is 17 must also present a certified copy of a court order granting authorization to marry. A petition to obtain authorization to marry must be filed in the circuit court for the county in which the individual resides. The petition must include the following information:
- the petitioner’s full name, gender, date of birth, and address, including the length of time the petitioner has resided at the address;
- the intended spouse’s full name, gender, date of birth, and address, including the length of time the intended spouse has resided at the address;
- a statement explaining how the parties met and how long they have known each other;
- a copy of any criminal records concerning either party and a copy of any peace order or protective order issued against either party;
- evidence that the minor is mature and capable of self–sufficiency and self–support independent of the minor’s parents, guardian, legal custodian, or intended spouse; and
- the name and last known address of each living parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the petitioner.
After the petition is filed, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the petitioner throughout the rest of the process.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law § 5-2A-01, 5-2A-02
In Maryland, you may only be lawfully married to a single living person at a time. To marry again while a first spouse is alive, an individual must receive an annulment or an absolute divorce. Getting married a second time without ending the prior marriage may result in prosecution and imprisonment for bigamy. If you have lost contact with your spouse for an extended period of time and do not know if your spouse is alive, you should still obtain a divorce before remarrying.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Law § 10-502
A marriage by proxy (where someone else stands in for the individuals getting married) is prohibited. Both parties must be present and participate in the ceremony. However, Maryland courts may recognize a valid, foreign proxy marriage.
Read the case: Tshiani v. Tshiani, 208 Md. App. 43 (Court of Special Appeals, 2012)
Breach of Promise
In Maryland, you cannot sue the person to whom you are/were engaged, for “breach of promise to marry” except if you, the plaintiff, are pregnant.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law § 3-102