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Marriage in Texas

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Experienced Texas Family Law and Divorce Law Attorneys

Over 20 Years of Family Law Experience

If you face family law legal challenges in Houston or anywhere in the Gulf Coast region of Texas, contact a lawyer team that includes:

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  • A track record of successfully handling thousands of cases

The Houston, Texas, family and divorce law firm of Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. provides cost-effective, compassionate and results-oriented family law legal services with one goal—the achievement of your divorce, property, custody and support goals. To contact us, call 281-823-8481.

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For experienced assistance in family law matters, contact an attorney who was recognized by the Office of the Attorney General as a special matter expert in the areas of medical support and the child support review process. Contact an attorney who has handled thousands of claims by calling 281-823-8481.

Do you have questions regarding family law? We handle a broad range of family law issues, including, military divorce, uncontested divorce, domestic violence, high net-worth property division and child support enforcement. Contact us at 281-823-8481.

Marriage in Texas

In Texas, marriage is a voluntary (consensual) civil contract between a woman and a man in which each party owes a fiduciary duty to the other. Texas favors marriage over co-habitation of unmarried couples and recognizes both ceremonial and common law marriages. An attorney at Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. in Houston, Texas, is available to answer your questions regarding the legal requirements for marriage in Texas. Please contact Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.

Ceremonial Marriage

Marriage License Required

In Texas, a ceremonial marriage requires a marriage license. (See Texas Family Code § 2.001.) A marriage license may be obtained by appearing before the county clerk in any county in Texas and:

  • Presenting proof of identity
  • Presenting proof of age
  • Properly completing the marriage license application, including providing all information requested in the application and marking all appropriate boxes
  • Taking an oath
  • Signing the application in front of the county clerk (See Texas Family Code § 2.002)

Each person applying for a marriage license is encouraged, but is not required, to attend a premarital education course of at least four hours during the year preceding the date of the application. (See Texas Family Code § 2.013.)

Legal Age to Marry

To obtain a marriage license in Texas, an individual must be over 18 years old. (See Texas Family Code § 2.101.) If an applicant is at least 16 years old, the consent of a person entitled to provide such consent (parental consent) or a court order is required before a marriage license will be issued. (See Texas Family Code §§ 2.102, 2.103.)

Parental consent for underage applicants. Consent to allow an underage applicant to marry may be provided by the applicant's parent, judicially designated managing conservator, or guardian. The consent declaration must be in writing on a form provided by the county clerk, provide consent for the applicant to marry, and contain a statement in which the person providing consent swears that she or he is the applicant's parent, judicially designated managing conservator, or guardian.

Consent declarations must be executed at the time of the application or no more than 30 days before the application is filed. All consent declarations must be acknowledged, typically before a county clerk.

  • If the parent does not reside in Texas, the written consent may be acknowledged by a person who is authorized to issues licenses in the state in which the parent resides.
  • If illness or incapacity has rendered a parent unable to acknowledge the consent declaration before a county clerk in Texas or a person who is authorized to issue licenses in the state in which the parent resides, the declaration may be acknowledged before any officer who is authorized to take acknowledgements and presented to the court along with a physician's affidavit regarding the parent's illness or incapacity.

Permission by court order for underage applicants. A minor who wishes to obtain a marriage license may petition the court in his or her own name for an order granting permission to marry.

  • If the minor's parent resides in Texas and is authorized to provide consent, the petition should be filed in the county in which the parent resides.
  • If the minor's judicially designated managing conservator or guardian resides in Texas and is authorized to provide consent, the petition should be filed in the county in which the conservator or guardian resides.
  • If there is no parent, conservator, guardian, or other person who resides in Texas and is authorized to provide consent, the petition should be filed in the county in which the minor resides.

In general, fraud, mistake, or illegality that occurred in obtaining the marriage license or the fact that the person who conducted the marriage ceremony lacked the authority to do so does not render a ceremonial marriage invalid. (See Texas Family Code §§ 2.301, 2.302.)

Common Law Marriage

Common law marriage, also called marriage without formalities or informal marriage, is not recognized everywhere, but it is recognized in Texas. (See Texas Family Code § 2.401.) When proven, a common law marriage is treated the same as a valid ceremonial marriage. A common law marriage may be proven in a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding by evidence that:

  • A declaration of their marriage has been signed or
  • The parties agreed to be married, lived together as husband and wife in Texas, and represented to others that they were married

A lawyer at Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. in Houston, Texas, is available to answer your questions regarding the requirements for ceremonial or informal marriage in Texas. Please contact Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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