We’ve been exploring the marriage laws of the 50 states in the United States. We started in New England and worked our way down the Atlantic coast before heading west. Today, we’re heading into the great state of Texas and just to the north of Texas, the state of Oklahoma. If you read this blog regularly, you may have seen the posts covering the marriage law waiting for Governor Perry to sign that will more than double marriage license fees in Texas unless a couple takes a state-sanctioned pre-marital education course.
As with all states, it’s important that you check the local requirements in the county you plan to marry in prior to heading down to get your marriage license. You do not have to be a resident of the state of Texas to get married in Texas. The picturesque locale makes it ideal for a destination wedding.
Requirements may vary as each county in Texas could have their own laws and statutes governing the application for a marriage license. You will need to present a valid form of ID as well as your Social Security number.
Currently, many Texas counties encourage you to attend premarital education courses. Currently those courses are about four hours in duration, but that may change if Governor Perry signs the new the pre-marital education law into effect. If you have been married previously and the divorce occurred within 30 days of your marriage license application, you will need to provide a certified copy of the divorce decree that waives the 30-day waiting period.
Once you have applied for your license, there is a 72-hour waiting period that may be waived for military personnel on active duty. Currently, the average fee for your marriage license is $31 to $41. If Governor Perry signs the new law into effect, the marriage license fee will double to $60 to $80 unless applicants take a state sanctioned pre-marital education class. At this time, there is no estimated cost for those classes as yet.
Texas makes allowances for common law marriage or as it may be referred to informal marriage. In order to have your relationship declared as an informal marriage you have a couple of options:
- You and your partner can sign a declaration of marriage in the County Clerk’s office. This is a part of the Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage. You’ll need to provide information such as social security numbers, addresses, maiden name for the female, dates of birth and social security numbers
- The other option is for the couple to simply cohabitate as man and wife and represent to others that they are married and agree with each other that they are married – then under Texas Law, they have an informal marriage
The text of the Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage states:
I solemnly swear (or affirm) that we, the undersigned, are married to each other by virtue of the following facts: On or about (Date) we agreed to be married, and after that date we lived together as husband and wife and in this state we represented to others that we were married. Since the date of marriage to the other party I have not been married to any other person. This declaration is true and the information in it which I have given is correct.
Also worth mentioning at this time, when you are applying for your marriage license, there is a child support statement that must be answered as either true or false. This statement has been a part of the marriage license application process since September of 1995. The statement reads:
I am not presently delinquent in the payment of court-ordered child support. TRUE FALSE
Applicants under 18 may not have an informal marriage. Applicants between the ages of 14 and 17 may only obtain a marriage license if they have written parental consent signed in front of the county clerk or if a Texas district court judge has authorized the marriage.
Texas does not allow for cousin marriage or same-sex marriage. Currently there is no option for covenant marriage, however there is a bill in the state house addressing this. Proxy marriages are allowed as long as affidavit of absence form is provided. Inmates may request a Prison Proxy form. A Texas marriage license is valid for 30 days. You may obtain a copy of your Texas Marriage Certificate:
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Texas Department of Health
P.O. Box 12040
Austin, TX 78711-2040
Phone – (512) 458-7111
You do not have to be an Oklahoma resident to get married in the state. You will, however, need to marry in the county where you purchased your license. When you go to apply for your license, you will need to present a valid form of identification as well as your Social Security number. There is a six-month waiting period after your final divorce decree is issued. You will need to present the divorce decree when applying for your marriage license. Oklahoma has no waiting period after you get your marriage license unless you are a minor.
The marriage license fee costs about $25 to $50. Fees vary from county to county, so be sure to check with the county where you are planning to get married. If you take a premarital counseling course, your marriage license will only cost $5. Be sure the premarital counseling course is county approved prior to using it to reduce your marriage license fee.
Blood tests are no longer required as a part of the application process as of November, 2004. Oklahoma does not allow for proxy marriage, cousin marriage or common law marriage. There is legislation that allows a common law marriage to be recognized if it began before November 1, 1998. Oklahoma passed a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage in November of 2004.
Minors need to have their parents’ permission to get married in Oklahoma and must appear at the courthouse with their children at the time of the application. There is a 72-hour waiting period for minors after receiving your marriage license. Applicants under the age of 16 cannot get married unless they have a court order.
Your Oklahoma marriage license is valid for 10 days. It must be filed within 5 days of the ceremony. You may obtain a copy of your Oklahoma Marriage Certificate from the county where you were married.
The above information should be taken as guidance only, legal requirements for state and county marriage licenses change often. Please verify the necessary paperwork and more with the office of the county clerk prior to making your wedding plans