MARRIAGE LAW + REQUIREMENTS in texas
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
Once you have your wedding date set, research your county’s waiting period and expiration window for marriage licenses.. In an ideal world, you would want to file for your marriage license as soon as possible, but you don’t want to get it too early in which it expires before your wedding. Head to your county clerk at least 72 hours before your ceremony, but no more than 90 days beforehand.
Say your wedding is April 1st, you have to get it before the 29th of March, but no sooner than January 1.
Texas marriage licenses expire if the ceremony isn’t performed within 90 days of obtaining them. Check with your nearest county clerk’s office to verify their hours of operation before you go, and ask to see if there are certain times and days of the week that are better in regard to wait times or appointments. When it’s your turn, you’ll appear before the clerk, answer a few brief questions and you are right on your way to the altar.
WHAT DO I BRING?
Before you jump in the car and head to your local county clerk, keep in mind that the following information is required.
Valid Form of ID: You and your fiance will need to each bring in your driver’s license, state ID card, passport, certificate copy of birth certificate with valid photo ID, visa, or military ID.
Payment: Marriage license fees can vary by counties in Texas, but typically the cost is between $70 & $90 and it’s a good idea to bring cash with you. If you or your fiance are not Texas residents, you’ll want to bring an additional $100. It may be a good decision to check with your nearest county clerk office to verify fees and forms of payment accepted prior to going in.
Here is a fun fact! If you and your fiance have completed a pre-marital counseling/education course that meets the Twogether in Texas requirements, bring in your completion certificate for a discount off your marriage license fee (sometimes as much as $60 off!) and you don't have abide by the 72 hour waiting period
IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW, NOW YOU KNOW.
There’s a few things to keep in mind when researching and applying for your Texas marriage license.
WHY GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE?
Most are determined to make it official - you have found your person, you have decided to have the wedding of your dreams to showcase your love and want that piece of paper that proves that you are married. You can have a wedding, and you can say your vows, but without a marriage license, you are not legally married. Besides the obvious fact that you want to be married to the love of your life, there are benefits to having a legal union that’s recognized by the state and by the government. Couples need to be legally married to have the option to receive tax breaks when filing jointly, share health care policies, pool insurance policies and to set each other up as beneficiaries for federal benefits.
I DO! BUT THEN WHAT DO I DO?
You must have a licensed or an ordained friend, family member, minister, priest, rabbi, judge or justice of the peace perform your ceremony. They’ll need to meet the requirements just as much as you and your fiance do for the marriage license. Additional wedding witnesses aren’t required in Texas. Whoever performs your ceremony needs to sign and date your license after the ceremony and they’ll return the original copy to the county clerk’s office from where it was issued, but no more than 30 days after the wedding. After it’s officially recorded, you’ll receive your license back within 1-4 weeks. ...And then it's official! Congrats! You did it!