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The Least You Need to Know: Marriage Registration Statutes. Derek Johnson, Field Services Vital Statistics Unit. Overview. The Statutes Texas Family Code General Provisions The Marriage Relationship New This Legislative Session Knowledge Checks Resources. The Statutes.

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The Least You Need to Know:Marriage RegistrationStatutes

Derek Johnson, Field Services

Vital Statistics Unit


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Overview

  • The Statutes

  • Texas Family Code

    • General Provisions

    • The Marriage Relationship

  • New This Legislative Session

  • Knowledge Checks

  • Resources


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The Statutes

  • Chapter 1 of Texas Family Code outlines general policy provisions regarding marriage in Texas

  • Chapter 2 of the Texas Family Code defines the marriage relationship


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Texas Family Code

Chapter 1

General Provisions

Public Policy


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Introduction

  • Sections 1.101 through 1.103 declare that a marriage is valid unless made void

    • Reflects long standing rule in American law

    • When two or more marriages are alleged, most recent marriage is presumed valid


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Marriage Presumed Valid

Every marriage entered into in this state is presumed to be valid

  • Promote public health and welfare

  • Provide stability for those entering into marriage relationship

  • Can be voided by Chapter 6 of the Texas Family Code


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Most Recent Marriage Presumed Valid

When someone alleges two or more marriages of a person to different spouses, the most recent marriage is presumed valid


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Persons Married Elsewhere

Texas law applies to persons married elsewhere who live here


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Knowledge Check

Chapter 1

General Provisions


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Texas Family Code

Chapter 2

The Marriage Relationship

Application for Marriage License


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Marriage License

  • A man and woman wishing to enter a ceremonial must get a marriage license from the county clerk of any county in this state

  • A license may not be issued for persons of the same sex


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Application for License

Each Applicant must:

  • Appear before the county clerk

  • Submit proof of identity and age

  • Provide information applicable to that person

  • Mark the appropriate boxes provided in the application

  • Take the oath printed on the application

  • Sign the application before the county clerk


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Application Form

Each Applicant must:

  • Indicate they are not related to the other Applicant

  • Indicate that neither Applicant is presently married

  • Provide their social security numbers, if any

  • Indicate they have not been divorced within the last 30 days

  • Answer the question concerning delinquent child support


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Proof of Age & Identity

  • Applicant must provide a valid, current, and correct document issued by Texas, another state, the US government or a foreign government that establishes identification and age

  • Names should be recorded on the application and license as they appear on document accepted


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Absent Applicant

  • Applicants unable to appear before the county clerk to obtain a marriage license may allow any adult person or the other applicant to apply on their behalf

  • Absent Applicants under 18 years old must also provide proper documentation

    • Documents establishing consent by a parent or person with legal authority are allowed

  • At least one Applicant must be present unless each Applicant provides an affidavit stating:

    • On active military duty

    • Confined to a correctional facility


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Execution of Application and Issuance of License

The county clerk shall:

  • Determine that all necessary information is recorded on the application

  • Require proof of identity and age

  • Distribute AIDS/HIV materials

  • Administer the oath

  • Provide information on Twogether training

  • Issue the marriage license



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Underage Applicant

  • No approval or consent is required for 18 year olds and older

  • Judicial approval OR parental consent is required for 16 or 17 year olds

  • Judicial consent is required for Applicants 16 years or younger


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Application for Licenseby Minor

Applicants under 18 years of age must provide:

  • Documents establishing parental consent

  • Documents establishing dissolution of prior marriage

  • Court order authorizing marriage


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Parental Consent of Underage Applicant

  • Must be by written declaration

  • Acknowledged before a county clerk

  • Parent or person with legal authority must provide:

    • Proof of identity

    • Proof of legal authority


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Court Order forUnderage Applicant

  • Minor may petition the court

  • Petition must be filed where parent resides and must include:

    • Reasons minor wishes to marry

    • Statement of whether parents are living or dead

    • Name and residence of living parents


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Knowledge Check

Application

for

Marriage License

and

Underage Applicant


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CeremonyandReturn of License


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Marriage License

  • 72-hour waiting period unless Applicant:

    • Is on active duty as a member of the US armed forces

    • Is not a member of the US armed forces but works for the US Department of Defense as an employee or under a contract

    • Obtains a written waiver – court

    • Applicants attended Twogether training

  • Marriage license only valid for 30 days


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Persons Authorized to Conduct Ceremony

  • Licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest

  • Jewish Rabbi

  • Officer of religious organization authorized to conduct marriage ceremonies, or

  • Various judges – both active and retired


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Discrimination inConducting Marriage

A person authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, or national origin against an Applicant who is otherwise competent to be married.


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Place Of Ceremony

  • Marriage ceremony does not have to take place in Texas

  • Ceremony may take place in another state, another country, or in international waters


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Marriage by Proxy

An Absent Applicant who is unable to appear for the ceremony may assent to marriage by the appearance of a Proxy appointed in their affidavit


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Processing the Licenseand Application

  • The person who conducts the ceremony must return the license to the issuing County Clerk within 30 days after the ceremony

  • The County Clerk shall print and mail the license to the address on the application

  • County Clerk shall mail completed “Application for Marriage License” to VSU after the marriage is recorded


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Duplicate Licenses

On request, the County Clerk shall issue a certified copy of a recorded marriage license


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Knowledge Check

Ceremony

and

Return of License



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Informal &Common-Law Marriage

  • Legal in Texas

  • The parties may register their informal marriage by filing a “Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage” with the County Clerk (or not)

  • For common-law marriages, Texas Family Code does not require a couple to live together for specified time period or own property together


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Proof of Informal Marriage

  • Both parties must be at least 18 years of age or older

  • Evidence of informal marriage:

    • Signed “Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage”

    • Agreement that the parties agreed to be married, after the agreement lived together in this state, and represented themselves to others that they were married


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Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage

  • Both parties must provide information required in the Declaration

  • The County Clerk may:

    • Prepare the Declaration of Informal Marriage

    • Enter the names of the persons declaring their informal marriage

    • The date and time the Declaration is issued

    • Record the Declaration and send a copy of the Declaration to VSU


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Knowledge Check

Marriage without Formalities



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HB 3666

  • Completed during the 81st Texas Legislature’s Regular Session

  • Amended several sections of the Texas Family Code beginning September 1, 2009

    • Expanded list of documents that Applicants can offer as proof of identity and age

    • Revises evidence required for parent or person with legal authority to consent to marriage of an underage applicant

    • Provides for errors discovered on a marriage license

    • Prescribes the form of the affidavit for amending a marriage license


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Section 2.005Proof of Identity & Age

Documents That Can Be Offered as Proof of Identity and Age

  • Driver’s license or identification card (including temporary permit or identification card)

  • United States passport

  • Passport issued by a foreign country

  • Consular document issued by a state or national government

  • Unexpired Certificate of United States Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization


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Section 2.005Proof of Identity & Age

Documents That Can Be Offered as Proof of Identity and Age

  • Unexpired military identification, military records, or military dependant identification card

  • Birth certificate (original or certified)

  • Court order relating to name change or sex change

  • School records

  • Insurance policy continuously valid for two years


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Section 2.005Proof of Identity & Age

Documents That Can Be Offered as Proof of Identity and Age

  • Motor vehicle certificate of title

  • Marriage license or divorce decree

  • Pilot’s license issued by FAA or other authorized United States agency

  • Handgun license

  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice offender identification


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Section 2.102Parental Consent for Underage Applicant

A parent or person who has legal authority to consent to marriage for an underage applicant who gives consent shall provide

  • Proof of the parent’s or person’s identity

  • Proof that the parent or person has the legal authority to consent to marriage for the applicant


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Section 2.102Parental Consent for Underage Applicant

The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall adopt rules detailing acceptable proof of legal authority to consent to marriage of an underage applicant

  • Should adequately protect against fraud

  • Should not create undue burden on any person legally entitled to consent to marriage


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Section 2.209Duplicate License

  • If parties to a marriage license discover an error on the recorded marriage license, both parties shall execute a notarized affidavit stating the error

  • The County Clerk shall file and record the affidavit as an amendment to the license

  • Affidavit is considered part of the license

  • The County Clerk shall include a copy of the affidavit with any future certified copy of the license issued by the Clerk.

  • The executive commissioner of HHSC shall provide the form of the affidavit



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For Questions About Marriage License Issuance

  • Reference the Texas Family Code, Chapters 1 & 2

  • TexasVSU.org

  • Contact your Texas Vital Statistics Area Representative

  • Contact another County Clerk Office

  • Contact your County Attorney


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