Iowa Marriage Laws: Same-Sex, Traditional, and Common Law

Common-law marriage requirements, traditional marriage rules, and information on same-sex marriage for Iowa.

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What are the requirements for getting legally married in Iowa?

Iowa does not require a blood test before a marriage license will be issued. You can marry three days after your marriage license is issued, and your license is good for six months after it's issued. After that time, you'll have to get a new one before you can marry.

In Iowa, as in most states, you must be of the age of consent, not be too closely related to your intended spouse, not be married to anyone else, and have sufficient "mental capacity," meaning you understand what you are doing when you marry.

Does Iowa have common-law marriage?

Yes. In Iowa, if you meet the criteria for common law marriage, then you are legally married and will be treated as a married couple for legal purposes, including the requirement that you get a legal divorce in order to end your relationship. In order to have a valid common law marriage, a couple must intend to be married, must live together for a significant period of time, and must hold themselves out as a married couple. If you need more information about common law marriage in Iowa, consult an attorney.

Does Iowa have same-sex marriage?

Yes. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on April 2, 2009 that the state's limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples was unconstitutional, and same-sex couples may marry in Iowa. Iowa will recognize domestic partnerships, civil unions, or reciprocal beneficiary relationships from other states as well. For trends in same-sex marriage laws, see Nolo's article Same-Sex Marriage: Developments in the Law.

Learn about the current status of same-sex marriage across the U.S. and around the world in Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions, by Frederick Hertz and Emily Doskow (Nolo).

Last updated 04/09/09.

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