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Marriage in Texas

Information on the laws for those who plan to get married or are married in Texas.

Note The issuance of marriage licenses may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since some county clerks' offices may not be offering in-person services at this time. Because of this, applying for a marriage license may not be available until they re-open or must be done online. We recommend checking the county clerk's website where you intend to apply or contact their office for more information on their current services. Please see the COVID-19 & Texas Law research guide for additional information related to COVID-19.

Marriage Licenses

Obtaining the Marriage License

Below you will find references to areas of the Texas law related to marriage licenses. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, please see the Understanding the Law resources below for a "plain English" explanation of these laws.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Applying with an Absent Applicant

If one of the applicants is unable to apply in person and is 18 years of age or older, any adult person or the other applicant may apply on their behalf. As per Texas Family Code Section 2.006, the person applying on their behalf must present the following to the county clerk:

Please note that subsection (c) of Section 2.006 states that a clerk may not issue a marriage license when both applicants are absent unless the clerk is presented with affidavits stating that the applicants are active duty military members currently stationed in another country in support of combat or another military operation.

Where to Apply

As per Section 2.001 of the Texas Family Code, a marriage license may be obtained from any county clerk's office. Many Texas counties now offer an online application process. For assistance, below are links with marriage license information from the county clerk's offices for some of Texas' most populous counties:

Where Can I Get a Copy of My Marriage License?

If you need a copy of your marriage license, copies must be purchased from the county clerk where the license was issued. If you do not know where the marriage license was issued, you can try and use the marriage indexes available from the Texas Department of Vital Statistics to search for the marriage record and determine where it was issued. See the link below to access the indexes.

Marriage Certificates

The term "marriage certificate" is commonly used by people when referring to marriage-related documents, so it can sometimes be confusing to determine the exact document it is that you need. 

Some use the term "marriage certificate" by mistake when referring to the marriage license that is issued by a Texas county clerk for a formal marriage. A marriage license is the legal document used to provide proof of the marriage. While some counties offer a keepsake "marriage certificate" for an additional fee, it is not a legal document and cannot be used as proof of your marriage.

This term is also used when referring to the document that can be filed with the county clerk for an informal marriage (also known as a common law marriage). This document is sometimes referred to as a Declaration of Informal Marriage. If you need a copy of your informal marriage declaration, copies must be purchased from the county clerk where the license was filed. To learn more about informal marriages, check out our Common Law Marriage research guide.