Marriage in Texas: laws, benefits, age, annulment

Marriage in Texas: law, Requirements, age, Benefits, annulment. Marriage is a bond that unites two persons together for the rest of their life. In every country, the law regarding marriages varies. Each state has its procedure regarding marriages that must get followed.

Marriage in Texas: law, Requirements, age, Benefits, annulment
Marriage in Texas: law, Requirements, age, Benefits, annulment

Some countries require a marriage licence before solemnising marriage, whereas some do not require any formality. Similarly, Texas has its law regarding marriages.

But what are the marriage laws in Texas? What is the requirement to obtain a marriage licence in Texas? Is a minor getting married in Texas?

Let’s find out the answers.

Marriage Law in Texas:

According to section 32 of the Texas Constitution, the term marriage means the union of one man and women only.

In simple words, marriage gets defined as a civil contract between a man and a woman in which each party has a certain right and responsibility to take care of each other.

Like most countries, Texas requires every individual to obtain a marriage licence before solemnising marriage(Texas family code, section 2.001).

This marriage licence gives a green signal to get married in Texas. These licences get availed by applying to the county clerk’s office from anywhere in the state. A person wishing to marry can apply to the county from a place; where they live or want to get married.

Getting a licence is not that difficult. You and your partner need to visit the county Clark and apply; in person. After applying, you must submit your identification proof and other requisite documents like your birth certificate and social security number. After getting approval, wait for; 3 days to solemnise your marriage. However, this waiting period can get waived by a premarital counselling certificate. 

After these periods, you are free; to solemnise your dream wedding wherever you want. But do not delay the wedding date for more than 90 days. If you miss the date, you need to go through the whole process again.

What are the requirements to get a marriage licence in Texas:

To get a marriage licence in Texas, every person needs to comply with the following requirements and duly submit all the documents mentioned below:

  1. Application: both the parties must apply in person to any county clerk’s office in the state. Many county offices accept online applications for a marriage licence, but it varies according to their law.
  2. The applicant is absent: if one of the applicants is absent and unable to visit the county office in person and is 18 years or above, the other applicant may apply on the absent applicant’s behalf.
  3. Age requirement: if both the applicant are:
  • At 18 years of age or above, they can obtain a marriage licence without their parent’s consent in Texas.
  • At least 16 years or above, they can obtain a marriage licence, but they need to submit their parent’s notarized consent and court permission.
  • Any person below 16 years of age is forbidden to marry in Texas.
  1. Documents requirement: both the applicants need to submit valid photo identification proof such as a driving licence, state ID, passport, military ID, visa, and any other government-issued identity card. Besides, they must provide their social security number and birth certificate.
  2. Previous marriage requirements: if any of the applicants are divorced or their former spouse is dead they need to submit a final divorce decree or death certificate of their spouse. After 30 days from divorcé they are allowed to get married.
  3. Blood test: a blood test is not required to obtain a marriage licence in Texas.
  4. Residential requirement: there is no residency requirement in Texas; to obtain a marriage licence. Any person, whether a resident or non-resident, can apply for a marriage licence from anywhere in the state.
  5. Waiting period: after the licence gets issued, the couple must wait for 72 hours before the marriage ceremony. These 72 hour waiting period can get waived if:
  • The applicant is active-duty military personnel of the United States.
  • The applicant obtains a waiver from the district judge. The waiver must get signed by the district judge.
  • Both the applicants, either individually or together, obtain a premarital counselling certificate and submit the same to the county.
  1. Fee requirement: the couple has to submit the requisite fee varies between; $65- $88, to obtain a marriage licence. These fees differ from county to county. If the applicant is a non-resident, they get charged an additional $100. The licence fee gets discounted if the couple submits their premarital counselling certificate.
  2. Marriage ceremony: after obtaining the licence, the couple needs to perform a marriage ceremony within 90 days from the date of issuance of the licence. If the couple misses the deadline, they need to apply again for a new licence.

Age requirement for marriage in Texas:

Marriage age requirements differ from state to state. Any 18-year-old or above person can get a valid marriage licence in Texas. They do not require their parent’s consent to marry. They are free to marry anyone and anywhere. 

But what about minors? Is a person under the age of 18 allowed to marry in Texas?

Surprisingly, yes. A minor is allowed to marry in Texas but only on two conditions:

  1. According to Texas family code, subchapter B, § 2.101, a county clerk may not issue a marriage licence to a person under the age of 18years except if the minor applicant submits the certified copy of the court’s order stating the removal of minority disability of applicant for general purpose.
  2. According to § 2.102 PARENTAL CONSENT FOR UNDERAGE APPLICANT of Texas Family Code, Either applicant is at least 16 years old or above can get a marriage licence in Texas by submitting the notarized parental consent or the district judge’s permission to the county clerk.

If the minor falls under the second category, they need to provide the notarized parental consent or the court’s order to the county clerk. Besides, both the applicants need to submit their identity proof and birth certificate. After verifying all the details and documents, a county clerk may allow a minor to get married.

Benefits of marriage in Texas

Whether you should get married or not? Are there any benefits of getting married in Texas? Let’s clear your doubts. Do you know marriage comes with several benefits and perks attached? 

A marriage not only gives respect from society but also confers benefits, rights, and privileges under government benefits, social security, estate laws, and insurance benefits.

A legally wedded couple in Texas gets entitled to several benefits such as:

  • Jointly filing taxes can save a chunk of your income by claiming marriage tax deductions. 
  • A married person can claim social security benefits such as Medicare, pension, disability benefits, military, and other government benefits.
  • Prenuptial agreement benefits give a fair distribution of assets rights to a non-earning spouse out of the joint assets.
  • IRA(individual retirement account) benefits
  • A marriage confers Inheritance right over the entire estate of the dead spouse even in the absence of a will.
  • Health insurance benefits.
  • Employee leaves benefits.
  • The paternity right.
  • Legal decision-making right.

Besides, there are several other benefits of getting married in Texas. 

Annulment of marriage in Texas:

In Texas, a marriage gets dissolved in three ways:

  • Divorce
  • Death
  • Annulment

Although a divorcé and annulment look similar, there is a fine line of difference between these two terms. If the marriage is invalid from the start and ends with the court’s decree, it is called annulment; on the other hand, if the marriage is valid and ends; it comes under the divorce.

An annulment is a suit to determine whether a marriage is valid or invalid; from the start. If the marriage is invalid, from the beginning, the marriage gets annulled as if it never existed.

Every state has its law regarding annulment and divorce, as Texas has. 

To initiate a suit for marriage annulment;

  • Either party to the maríriage must reside in Texas.
  • They were married in Texas.

There are several grounds under which a person can initiate an annulment suit in Texas. These grounds are provided under § 6.201-§ 6.206 under chapter 6 of the Texas Family Code. These grounds are:

  •  Marriage with a minor(under 18 years without parents’ consent or courts order)
  • Either spouse is impotent. 
  • The spouse concealed a prior marriage.
  • Married again during the lifetime of a former spouse, and the marriage is still valid.
  • Either spouse is incapable of entering into marriage.
  • When the consent is obtained under the alcohol influence, intoxication, fraud, duress, misrepresentation, and cheating.
  • Marriage with stepchild or stepparents
  • Consanguinity

These are the valid ground to initiate a suit for annulment in Texas. The lawsuit for annulment can get filed in the district court where either party lives or are married. Before filing a lawsuit, make sure you have strong evidence to corroborate your statement and the consequences of declaring your marriage void.

Read also: Bigamy laws in Texas; Adultery in Texas; Marriage in California

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