The Kansas Supreme Court announced April 17 that its Office of Judicial Administration worked with judicial districts to create a process that will allow some district courts to resume issuing marriage licenses while courts remain closed to in-person contact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The demand for marriage licenses continues even as we honor our state’s stay at home order,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “To meet this demand, our courts developed a process that allows a couple to get a marriage license without in-person contact with court staff, which is consistent with our efforts to protect the health of court workers, judges, and the people who need our services.”
New process starts Monday, April 20, in select locations
Luckert said that 10 courts will issue marriage licenses using the new process, and they will begin accepting applications Monday. Applicants must call a court to begin the process.
“This new process depends on phone, email, and U.S. mail to replace what previously was done in person in the clerk of court office,” Luckert said. “We encourage applicants to be patient with district staff who will be working to meet this need while continuing to operate at reduced staffing in compliance with public health recommendations.”
Courts that will issue marriage licenses
People who live in Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee, or Wyandotte county will get their marriage licenses through the district court in their county:
- Johnson County District Court — Olathe — 913-715-3428
- Sedgwick County District Court — Wichita — 316-660-5900
- Shawnee County District Court — Topeka — 785-251-6362
- Wyandotte County District Court — Kansas City — 913-573-2834
People who live in other counties will choose from six other court locations to get a marriage license:
- Crawford County District Court — Pittsburg — 620-231-0380
- Douglas County District Court — Lawrence — 785-832-5256
- Ellis County District Court — Hays — 785-628-9415
- Finney County District Court — Garden City — 620-271-6120
- Ford County District Court — Dodge City — 620-227-4609
- Harvey County District Court — Newton — 316-284-6890
Courts will receive applications by encrypted email or mail
Marriage license paperwork requires the applicant to provide a photo identification that includes personally identifiable information, such as date of birth, Social Security Number, or driver’s license number. To protect this information, courts will begin an encrypted email exchange with the applicant through which the applicant will return completed paperwork.
If an applicant does not have email, courts will also send and receive paperwork by U.S. mail.
Fulfilling the oath requirement
Marriage license applicants previously were required to appear in person in the clerk of court’s office to swear an oath that includes affirming:
- they are of lawful age to marry or have necessary consent to marry;
- are not related in degrees prohibited by law; and
- no legal reason exists why they should not marry.
Under the new process, applicants will make this affirmation on paper.
Prior marriage license applications will not be processed
If a person submitted a marriage license application before courts closed to in-person contact, and the marriage license was not issued, the person will need to submit a new application to a court issuing marriage licenses using this new process. This applies even if the earlier application was submitted to a court that will now issue marriage licenses, and it is to ensure all requirements are met.
Courts on limited operations due to COVID-19 pandemic
The Supreme Court issued an administrative order placing state courts on emergency operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent orders provided additional guidance to courts, attorneys, and court users.
Administrative Order 2020-PR-016, issued March 18, instructed courts statewide to cease regular operations to minimize or eliminate in-person contact that could put court workers, judges, and the public at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. It specified which functions must be performed by courts and it directed courts to identify essential personnel needed to carry out these functions.
Administrative Order 2020-PR-32, issued April 3, amended Order 2020-PR-016 to clarify that courts continue to perform essential functions and may also perform functions not deemed essential as local resources and circumstances allow.