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Marriage in Texas

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

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, but that phrase is not used in Chapter 2 of the Family Code. This can make it confusing to determine which document someone is referring to when they say "marriage certificate." 

Some use the term "marriage certificate" when referring to the marriage license that is issued by a Texas county clerk for a formal marriage. However, a "marriage license" is the legal document used to provide proof of the marriage. Some counties offer a keepsake "marriage certificate" for an additional fee, but this certificate may be separate from the "marriage license" itself.

This term is also used when referring to a "declaration of informal marriage," which is the document that can be filed with the county clerk to register a common law marriage. If you need a copy of your informal marriage declaration, contact the county clerk's office where the declaration was filed. To learn more about informal marriages, check out our Common Law Marriage research guide.