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Minnesota State Law Library Legal Topics Directory
by Danielle Becker - Last Updated Mar 17, 2015
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Minnesota family law practice manual - Cathy E. Gorlin, editor, Neil B. Davidson, contributing author.
Call Number: KFM5494.A6 D3 2001
Publication Date: 2001
Chapter 1-Marriage. (Updated by supplements.)


Marriage Certificates and Divorce Decrees

Copies of certificates of marriage are available from the county that issued the marriage license. Divorce decrees can be obtained from the court where the divorce was heard.  Some recent documents may be available online at the courthouse.



Minn. Stat. Ch. 517:  Civil Marriage.

  • "Civil Marriage" is a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential.   A lawful civil marriage may be contracted only when a license has been obtained as provided by law and when the civil marriage is contracted in the presence of two witnesses and solemnized by one authorized, or whom one or both of the parties in good faith believe to be authorized, so to do. Minn. Statute 517.01.
  • The following civil marriages are prohibited (Minn. Statute 517.03):
    1. a civil marriage entered into before the dissolution of an earlier civil marriage of one of the parties becomes final, as provided in section 518.145 or by the law of the jurisdiction where the dissolution was granted;
    2. a civil marriage between an ancestor and a descendant, or between siblings, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood or by adoption; and
    3. a civil marriage between an uncle or aunt and a niece or nephew, or between first cousins, whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood, except as to civil marriages permitted by the established customs of aboriginal cultures.

Source:  Office of the Revisor of Statutes


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As librarians and not lawyers, we can suggest resources but cannot give legal advice (such as which form to file), or legal opinions, (such as how a statute might apply to particular facts).  To do so could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.  Even though we try to suggest materials that will be of help, further research is usually required to find a complete and correct answer.  For many questions, the best answer may be to consult an attorney.

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