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Should people be required to pay a fee to get married?

Asked at The Merc, 901 Iowa St. on February 11, 2010

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Photo of Ross Duffy

“Yes, but the fee is too much now. I think I paid $2 when I got married.”

Photo of Hailey Gillespie

“No … getting married costs enough by itself.”

Photo of Toots Schultz

“No, but I think they should be required to pay a fee to get divorced, thousands of dollars. It’s too easy to get divorced nowadays.”

Photo of Gordon Myers

“It should be an affordable fee. … Research has shown that when items are ‘free,’ they are not valued nearly as much.”


zettapixel 8 years, 3 months ago

Forget paying to get married... how about people pay AND take parenting courses if they want to have kids!

Bill Lee 8 years, 3 months ago

Cutting the current fees in half would make it more affordable to those needing a financial break, but it would still generate enough revenue to cover record keeping costs and paperwork.

It is almost easier to get divorced than it is to get married. I didn't even have to attend my divorce. I just had to sign a few papers.

parrothead8 8 years, 3 months ago

Civil unions should be the only type of "marriage" with financial and legal implications, because marriage is just a religious construct. Government should stay out of marriage.

missmagoo 8 years, 3 months ago

thousands of dollars to get divorced???? are you freaking kidding me?? it should be just as hard to get married as it is to get divorced!! so either make both processes a thousand bucks or make them both free!

BorderRuffian 8 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps the real question we ought to be asking here is, "what are we actually paying for?"

I'm not talking about the cost of committment or the cost to cross the gates from single non-committed life to married-committed life, nor the idea of value raised in setting the bar significantly high enough that it gives couples pause to consider beforehand what they are getting into.

No, I am actually asking cost is actually incurred by the county/state by allowing a couple to get married? Is it the same thing as the "court costs" charged for some parking tickets and mail-in fines? Do we really imagine, for those fines, that the tickets are brought into a properly convened court and the prosecuter discusses the merits of the case with the judge, and the judge adjourns to consider each, then directs the court reporter to duly record the proceedings so that the clerk can make the correct entry?

No, what I want to know is, what costs does the county/state actually incur as a result of a couple getting married, that necessitate the $69?

It should be from THAT point that the argument is made for or against any particular marriage fee.

Or, and I should be ashamed of myself for even thinking this, is this simply just another attempt to find a way to gouge more money from hard-working citizens?

conservativepunker 8 years, 3 months ago


That Nickel in your pocket used to be a Quarter....

somedude20 8 years, 3 months ago

what is the fee if you are gay, that is right, gays are not allowed to mary. what bs (and I am not even gay)

marriage is around to make death look like a good option

Mariposa 8 years, 3 months ago

It would appear that the best, at least the most entertaining, posts are from Spacehog. People get married or live together because they think it is a good idea and then they have children. Perhaps some of you know those who will abide by your thoughts on marriage and family. Perhaps, people out there are going to do what they want regardless of what I/you/we think about it. Total strangers, just ignoring what I think! Well! (hand on cheek.)

Tom McCune 8 years, 3 months ago

I can't remember who wrote this line, but it was not bad.... "The world would be a better place if it cost $100,000 to get married and $2 to get divorced." George Carlin? Johnny Carson?

beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

Won't they be paying for it the rest of their lives?

GmaD321 8 years, 3 months ago

It should cost more to get married than it does to get divorced and you should have to have a license (both parties) to have kids.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 3 months ago

69.00 does seem kind of high for a fee..I think we paid half that when we got married.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 3 months ago

no, i don't know what the money is for anyway.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 3 months ago

spacehog, i hear ya... not about blowing up the merc w/ a half bottle of everclear but the "emotional claustrophobia"... oh, yeh, i'm right there w/ you on that. marriage is really good for some people but i ain't the marryin' kind.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 3 months ago

yeh, and the whole "its not you, its me" line may seem contrived but its true where i'm concerned. i DON'T want a commitment that is legally binding like that. seriously. i was married for 9 years, yeh-- he was a turd extraordinaire and i know that most guys aren't like him but i just cannot see myself EVER wanting to commit on that level again.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 3 months ago

me and spacehog are writing a book called:

marriage 101, LJW style


Mel Briscoe 8 years, 3 months ago

did you happen to notice that the dark haired chick featured at the beginning of this thread is named "toots"? LOL

1029 8 years, 3 months ago

Yes. In exchange for waiving the fee, the couple should have to sign a contract in which they agree to not have children, though. If the couple ever decides that they want to have children, they have to go back and pay the $69, as well as show proof that they can afford to have children. Too many people who can barely afford to take care of themselves are having children because they perceive getting married and reproducing as “the thing that people are supposed to do.” Almost all of society's problems are rooted in the fact that people that shouldn't be reproducing are doing just that.

somedude20 8 years, 3 months ago

do people pay to go to jail? I did 8 years hard time with that ole ball and chain until I made a break for it. I have been on the lamb (not that type redneck) ever since and do not plan to get caught again

kugrad2003 8 years, 3 months ago

Every state in the union charges a fee in order for a couple to obtain marriage license. The prices varies from state to state, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $100 for a license. The fee in Kansas is $69. In the long and short of things, I don't see that it's a prohibitive fee.

9070811 8 years, 3 months ago

Wow...too easy to get divorced.

Well if an individual is stuck in a horrible marriage, I would certainly hope that be allowed to get divorced as soon as possible without having to worry more about finances.

amrose42683 8 years, 3 months ago

Granted I think the fee is a bit high for what they actually NEED that money for but me and my husband didn't have a complaint about paying it. I think I saw a comment yesterday that said that people shouldn't get a fee waived when their gonna go spend $1000s on the actual wedding anyway. But to the contrary, society has been changing, and fewer and fewer are opting to have the big lavish wedding. This is probably in part due to the current economic climate, but one would hope that people are seeing marriage more for what they should rather than needing the "perfect" wedding to start it off. My husband and I were very down on our luck when we got married ... but we wanted to be married. We paid the license fee and got married in the livingroom of our house. A family friend was a retired reverend and married us for free. I made the food and our wedding cake. I think the overall cost for our wedding was about $300-$400. That includes our sterling silver rings. We've been saving little by little for more permanent rings in the future ... it just didn't matter to us at the time. Point is, if you want to be married, you should be married. I don't think $69 would really break the bank for anyone ... even if they needed to save $20/month for a bit. At the same time, if it's going to be free some then it should be free for all.

BorderRuffian 8 years, 3 months ago

GmaD321 (Anonymous) says… "...and you should have to have a license (both parties) to have kids. "

Welcome to the Peoples Republic of China, GMA.

1029 (Anonymous) says… "Yes. In exchange for waiving the fee, the couple should have to sign a contract in which they agree to not have children, though."

Why not get them spayed and neutered just like we do to adopt pets?

kugrad2003 (Anonymous) says… "Every state in the union charges a fee in order for a couple to obtain marriage license."

You graduated KU in 2003 and yet you consider that a valid argument? (The same argument Larryville uses everytime it raises fees for almost anything) JUST BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE DOES IT! Scroll back up to my first comment and tell me why the $69 is justified, other than "everybody else does it." As my mother used to ask, "just because everyone else is jumping off of the cliff, does that make it right?"

beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

For space hog: Know why divorce is so expensive?

Because it is worth it!

If I'd have killed my husband when I first thought about it, I'd be out of jail by now.

Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye opener.

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewellery. - Rita Rudner

kugrad2003 8 years, 3 months ago

The $69 is justified by the state - you are paying for the time that it takes the state and its employees to process your information.

How many people do you think actually deal with the license that is issued? You'll visit the District Court Clerk twice - once to apply for the license and then again to pick it up. When the Clerk's office receives the license after the ceremony, more information has to be entered to send the record to Vital Statistics. Someone else at that office then processes the information into the permanent record.

If you want the price to go down, lobby your legislator to eliminate the 3-day waiting period that Kansas still maintains. By reducing the amount of time that the state pays its employees to handle the license, the fee could be reduced proportionately.

somedude20 8 years, 3 months ago

spacehog..oh yes, I can recall your gifted voice (and fingers). For old times sake, will you sing our song from Kiss of the Spider Woman

ps. i loved the belt

salad 8 years, 3 months ago

Sure, there's a clear tax benefit to being married, so why shouldn't there be a small fee. Really though, we should be licensing people to have children. I just read in the KC Star about a guy in MO. who murdered his 1 yr old baby girl. Just horrific.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 3 months ago

Marrying couples should be required to submit to a mental health examination. Because they MUST be crazy.

ralphralph 8 years, 3 months ago

You ought to get your money back, doubled, if you stick it out and are still married after 10 years.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 3 months ago

LOL @ autie

and bea, you came WITH it, girlfriend! i like, i like!

spacehog... decaff.... i'm just saying....

BorderRuffian 8 years, 3 months ago

My guess is that Salad has never been married:

salad (Anonymous) says… "Sure, there's a clear tax benefit to being married, so why shouldn't there be a small fee."

Tax benefit? HAH!!! There is a reason they call it the marriage penalty - it costs more - a lot more - in taxes when you are married.

Been there, done that, still doing that.

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