Marriage Law

Marriage in Oregon

Marriage is a binding contract between a man and a woman in which each agrees to take the other as husband or wife. Each acquires certain legal rights and obligations.

Who May Marry In Oregon?

In Oregon, a man or a woman must be 17 years old before marrying. In most cases, persons who have not attained the age of 18 years must obtain the written consent of a parent or guardian.

Who May Not Marry?

  1. Persons under age 17
  2. Persons who are first cousins, or any nearer of kin to each other
  3. Persons who already have a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage

Are There Any Laws In Oregon Prohibiting Marriage Between Persons Of Different Race, Color, Religion Or National Origin?


May A Marriage Be Annulled?

A marriage may be annulled or set aside by the court under the following circumstances:

  1. Either person is under legal age
  2. Either person is mentally incapable of understanding
  3. The consent of either person is obtained by force or fraud.

What About The Marriage License?

In order to marry, a license must be obtained from the County Clerk. (The Clerk’s office is usually located in the County Courthouse.) The County Clerk may not issue a marriage license until seven days have passed from the date of the filing of the application. This waiting period may be shortened by court order.

How Long Is The Marriage License Valid?

If the marriage ceremony is not performed within the time specified on the license, then you must apply for a new marriage license.

Who May Solemnize The Marriage?

Marriages may be performed by any judicial officer (judge or justice of the peace) of Oregon anywhere within his or her jurisdiction, or by a minister or religious organization or congregation, authorized by the State of Oregon to do so.

What Must The Marriage Ceremony Include?

In the solemnization of a marriage, no particular form is required except that the man and woman shall assent or declare, in the presence of the at least two witnesses, that they take each other to be husband and wife.

Does Marriage Affect Your Last Will And Testament?

An existing Will is generally revoked by marriage, although there are exceptions under Oregon law. For example, the Will may be valid if it was prepared with the marriage in mind, or if you have made provisions for your future spouse in a written pre-marriage contract.

What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?

The parties may agree in advance of their marriage to certain conditions or aspects of the future marriage, including the distribution of property, should the marriage terminate for any reason. This may be accomplished by a prenuptial agreement (a pre-marriage contract) which is entered into by a man and woman who intend to marry.

If the intended marriage takes place, a written prenuptial agreement is generally enforceable. Both parties to a prenuptial agreement should fully understand the effect of the agreement and what legal rights they may be giving up. Each person should obtain his or her own lawyer’s advice before the prenuptial agreement is signed.

What About Debts, Liabilities And Obligations?

Marriage will not make a husband or wife liable for the debts or liabilities of the other incurred before marriage. After the marriage, the expenses of the family and the education of the children are chargeable upon the property of both husband and wife, and they may be sued jointly or separately. Otherwise, neither husband nor wife is liable for the separate debts or liabilities of the other.

Does A Married Person Under The Age Of 18 Years Have All Of The Legal Rights And Obligations Of An Adult?

Married persons under 18 years of age are considered to have reached the age of majority. Certain Oregon laws, however, are applied on the basis of age rather than on whether or not a person has attained the age of majority (for example, liquor laws and the minimum wage laws).

May One’s Prior Name Be Retained?

Yes. Either person may retain his or her prior name after the marriage.

Is Common Law Marriage Valid In Oregon?

An informal or common law “marriage” is not valid if entered into in Oregon. A common law marriage which is valid in the state where it was consummated is valid in Oregon.