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How to Get Married in Texas

Three Parts:Applying for a Texas Marriage LicenseGetting Married in TexasDealing with Special Circumstances

Hoping to get married in Texas? It's not very costly or difficult to get married in Texas, but you do need to know and follow the rules. For example, you will have to prove your identity and follow time limits.

Part 1
Applying for a Texas Marriage License

  1. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 1
    Appear before the county clerk. To obtain a marriage license, you need to show up to a Texas county clerk’s office. All counties in Texas issue licenses. [1] Sometimes these offices are called “marriage license bureaus.”[2]
    • Both partners must appear in person. The clerk’s official will give you a formal application. You must be at least 16. Applicants under age 18 need a certified copy of their long-form birth certificate issued in the last 10 years and judicial approval or parental consent.[3]
    • You will need to take the oath that is printed on the application and signed before the county clerk. You don’t have to get married in the county from which you obtained the license.
  2. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 2
    Prove your identity and age. To obtain a marriage license, the county clerk will ask you and your partner to prove your identities and ages. There are several ways you can do this.
    • Present a driver’s license or identification card that was issued in Texas or another American state. The identification card can’t be torn or damaged. Expired documents are not accepted.[4]
    • Present a current passport issued by the United States or another country. Present an original or certified copy of your birth certificate. Present a valid government or Military ID.
  3. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 3
    Pay the fee. To get a marriage license in Texas, you will need to pay a fee. The fee is generally $70-81 varying by county.[5]
    • If you go through the State of Texas approved marriage education class as a couple, you won’t have to pay the $60 state portion of the fee.
    • You will still have to pay the county portion, which varies by county. Texas marriage licenses are valid in every state.

Part 2
Getting Married in Texas

  1. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 4
    Find someone appropriate to marry you. Texas law has specific regulations as to whom can marry someone legally in the state.
    • Those who qualify: A retired judge of a municipal court and a retired judge or magistrate of a federal court of Texas; a justice of the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court; judge of the Criminal appeals; judge of the district, county, and probate courts; judge of the county courts at law; judge of the courts of domestic relations; judge of juvenile courts; and retired justice or judge of those courts or current or retired justice of the peace.
    • Others qualified to marry people in Texas are a licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest, a Jewish Rabbi, or a person who is an officer in a religious organization authorized by the organization to conduct the marriage ceremony.
  2. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 5
    Attend the ceremony, unless you meet the military exemption. Seems obvious, but, yes, you have to actually attend the ceremony and so does your partner or you won’t be able to get married in Texas.
    • The exception is if you or your future spouse is a member of the United States military who is stationed in another country in combat or another military operation.
    • After the ceremony concludes, the person who conducts the marriage should record the date and county where the ceremony was performed on the license, and return it to the County Clerk who issued it no later than the 30th day after the date the ceremony is conducted.
  3. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 6
    Follow the time limits. To be married in Texas, you need to have the marriage ceremony before the 90th day after the date your marriage license was issued.[6]
    • If you try to get married after that, you won’t be able to do so because the marriage license will be expired.
    • Be aware that you have to wait 72 hours after obtaining the license to have the ceremony though. There is an exception for military personnel.[7]

Part 3
Dealing with Special Circumstances

  1. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 7
    Get an absentee license. If you or your spouse is serving in combat or a military operation overseas and can’t attend the ceremony, you or he/she can apply for an absent application affidavit.
    • The absent applicant must complete the information on the form, though, and it must be notarized. The application expires 30 days after its issuance.
    • Print or type all information in blue or black ink and do not use white out or mark outs. You must appoint a person as proxy and that person has to be present when purchasing the license. People in jail can obtain an absent application form but they can’t use a proxy and must be present to get married.
  2. Image titled Get Married in Texas Step 8
    Apply for an informal marriage license. This is a license that grants a common law marriage that is based on living together and mutual understanding.
    • A civil or religious ceremony does not occur in the case of a common law union.
    • Most states do not allow common law marriages. Prove your identity with a valid driver’s license, valid passport, state-issued ID card, military ID card, or certified copy of your birth certificate or valid photo ID.


  • Texas marriage licenses can be used in some other states.
  • There is a 30-day waiting period before divorce can be granted in Texas.
  • Residency and blood tests are not required to get married in Texas.
  • First cousins can’t get married in Texas.
  • Same sex marriages are legal in Texas as they are throughout the United States now.
  • You don’t need witnesses to obtain the marriage license.

Article Info

Categories: Weddings | Wedding Planning