Getting married is one of the most life-changing decisions that you will make. After you've decided that you're ready to walk down the aisle, there are some practical legal considerations to keep in mind. Regardless of where you marry in the country, each state has its own requirements for getting married. This includes specific age, consent, and capacity requirements, in addition to additional steps that you must take to make your marriage valid.
Texas Marriage Laws at a Glance
Although an attorney's contributions are preferable when you must know every facet of the law, a plain language explanation is a great starting place. See the chart below for a brief overview of marriage laws in Texas.
Validity of Marriage
In Texas, you must be at least 18 to marry without consent; persons that are over age 16, but under 18 must obtain consent to marry.
All states including Texas have specific marriage license requirements.
- Blood tests and/or physicals aren't required prior to issuance of the license; and
- Texas has no residency requirements.
72 Hour Waiting Period
You must wait 72 hours after getting the license to marry unless the following conditions apply:
- Applicant is a member of the U.S. armed forces on active duty;
- The applicant performs works for the Department of Defense as an employee or under contact
- Applicant obtains a written waiver; or
- Applicant completes a premarital education course and provides a certificate of completion that indicates completion of not more than 1 year before the marriage license application is filed with the clerk.
The following persons are authorized to conduct a valid marriage ceremony in Texas:
- A licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest;
- A Jewish rabbi;
- A person who is an officer of a religious organization and who is authorized by the organization to conduct a marriage ceremony;
- A justice or judge of various courts named in the statute; or
- A retired judge or magistrate of a federal court in Texas
Penalties for Committing Unauthorized Marriage Ceremony
- If a person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony without authorization, then they've committed a Class misdemeanor.
- If a person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony of a minor whose marriage is prohibited by law or for a person who commits the offense of bigamy, then they've committed a felony of the third degree.
Marriage Ceremony by Proxy
A proxy marriage is only allowed if the absent party is:
- A member of the U.S. armed forces stationed in another country; and
- Unable to attend the ceremony.
Prohibition of Discrimination
An authorized person conducting a marriage ceremony cannot discriminate based on race, religion, or national origin against an applicant who is otherwise competent to be married. Although the statute doesn't address sexual orientation, same sex marriage is legal in all states including Texas.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Texas Marriage Laws:
Have Questions about Texas Marriage Laws? Contact an Attorney
If you're getting ready to take the next step towards matrimony, then you might have questions about the law. Talking to an experienced attorney can address your concerns so that you can concentrate on your future. Contact a Texas family law attorney located near you to learn more.