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Marriage is recognised by the State as a legally binding contract. There are several legal requirements that need to be fulfilled for the marriage to be legally valid. Since 2015 same sex couples can now legally marry and enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as opposite sex couples. For a marriage to be legally recognised, a couple must be married by civil ceremony.  A couple may also choose to participate in an associated religious or secular ceremony, along with the civil ceremony.

Requirements for a Valid Marriage

In order to enter into a valid marriage in Ireland both parties must:

  • Have the capacity to marry each other.
  • Freely consent to the marriage.
  • Observe the required notice requirements of 3 months to the Registrar.

Notice Requirements

For a marriage to be legal in Ireland, a couple must give a minimum of three months notification in person to a Registrar of their intention to marry. More information on how to notify the Registrar about an intention to marry is available on the website for the General Register Office

To make an appointment to give Notification of Intention to Marry to a Registrar, parties should contact their local Civil Registration Office. See Civil Registration Office to get details for local Civil Registration Service Offices. 

Age Requirements 

The minimum age for getting married in Ireland is 18 years of age. Also, if you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and you wish to get married abroad, you must be aged at least 18. It is no longer possible to apply for a Court Exemption Order allowing a marriage to proceed where one or both parties are under 18 years.  

Capacity to Marry

In addition, both parties must have the capacity to marry, which means that both parties must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Be over 18 years of age.
  • Have given the Registrar three months notification of the marriage.
  • The requirement to give three months’ notice does not apply to couples whose civil partnership was registered in Ireland. It is also possible to apply for a Court Exemption Order to allow a marriage to proceed without the three-month notification in certain circumstances (such as very serious illness). For further information, click here.
  • Be either single, widowed, divorced, a former civil partner of a civil partnership that ended through death or dissolution, or have had a civil annulment of a marriage or civil partnership, or a valid foreign divorce or dissolution. If you are marrying your civil partner, you do not need to have your civil partnership dissolved before marrying. It will be automatically dissolved when you marry.
  • Have the mental capacity to understand the nature of marriage and what it means.
  • Not be related by blood or marriage to a degree that prohibits them from lawfully marrying each other.

If either party does not fulfil even one of the above requirements, any subsequent marriage ceremony is legally void.

Further Information 

The Citizens Information website provides useful and accessible information on marriage. It explains the formal requirements for a valid marriage and also sets out the different types of marriage ceremonies

For tax purposes, a married couple can elect for joint or separate assessment and the Revenue Commissioners has produced a very useful resource outlining the tax implications of being married.


Organisation Telephone Email Website Address
General Register Office

Tel: 0090 6632900

LoCall: 1890 252076 Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon
Citizens Information 0761 07 4000 More than 260 drop-in locations nationwide. Find your local centre here.


University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF