Marriage Licenses

A marriage license is valid for ninety days from issuance. A seventy-two hour waiting period is required from the time the marriage license is issued until the wedding can take place unless, one of the applicants is in the military or a waiver of the waiting period is obtained from a District or County Court-at-Law Judge. Therefore, the wedding must take place at least 72 hours after the license is issued and before ninety days have passed from the date the license is issued.

Obtaining a Marriage License

  1. Each applicant should bring Proof of Identity and Age when applying for the marriage license. Both applicants must swear or affirm that the information provided is correct and both sign the application for the marriage license.

    Applicants can complete an online Marriage application on our Online Public Records website to expedite the process, but will still have to appear at the County Clerk’s office with valid identification to complete the application process. Be sure to inform the clerk you have completed the online application.

  2. Absent Applicants:
    1. New law states that the ONLY time a County Clerk can issue a marriage license when both applicants are absent is when the applicants are members of the armed forces of the United States stationed in another country in support of combat or another military operation.
    2. The law still allows for one (1) absent applicant. If an applicant who is 18 years of age or older is unable to appear personally before the county clerk to apply for a marriage license, any adult person or the other applicant may apply on behalf of the absent applicant. An absent applicant form must be completed, signed by the absent applicant, and notarized before being submitted to the County Clerk with the absent applicant’s (Original) proof of the identity and age.** A person appearing before the clerk on behalf of an absent applicant is not required to take the oath on behalf of the absent applicant.
  3. Appointing a proxy to stand in during the ceremony:
    1. The only absent applicant that can appoint someone to stand in during the ceremony is a member of the armed forces of the United States stationed in another country in support of combat or another military operation and unable to attend the ceremony. The proxy must be listed on the absent applicant form and cannot be changed.
    2. All other applicants will have to be present for the ceremony.
  4. WE DO NOT ACCEPT CHECKS FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE. The cost is $81.00 in CASH OR CREDIT/DEBIT CARD ONLY, unless you have taken the “TWOGETHER IN TEXAS” premarital Education Course.

    What is Twogether in Texas? It is a state program working in partnership with a federal Healthy Marriage Initiative. Each person applying for a marriage license is encouraged to attend a premarital education course of at least eight hours during the year preceding the date of the application for the license.

    • A person who provides a premarital education course shall provide a signed and dated completion certificate to each individual who completes the course. The certificate must include the name of the course, the name of the course provider, and the completion date.
    • 72-Hour Waiting Period waived.
    • Reduces the marriage license fee from $81.00 to $21.00
    • The course completion certificate is good for one year.
    • Who should a couple contact to obtain more information on the state sponsored premarital education classes?

  5. Once the license has been issued, it is given to the applicants who should present it to the officiating authority authorized to conduct the wedding. The officiating authority should subscribe the date of marriage and his/her signature to the license, and return it to our office.

Underage Applicants

A county clerk may not issue a marriage license if either applicant is under 18 years of age, unless each underage applicant shows that the applicant has been granted by this state or another state a court order removing the disabilities of minority of the applicant for general purposes. Sec. 2.003 FC

When will I receive the recorded Marriage License?

The person who conducts a marriage ceremony shall record on the license the date on which and the county in which the ceremony is preformed and the person’s name, subscribe the license, and return the unexpired license to our office by not later than the 30th day after the date the ceremony is conduced. (A person who fails to comply with this section commits an offense which is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $500).

It may take up to 7-10 business days to receive your original license in the mail by the person who conducts the marriage ceremony. Once received, the clerk shall record a returned marriage license and mail the license to the address indicated on the application. However, if it is needed sooner, once recorded by our office a certified copy of the license and application may be obtained from our office for $7.00, the county clerk may e-mail the marriage license to an email address provided to the county clerk by the applicants in addition to mailing the license. (If you are going to change your last name you will need a certified copy to take to the Social Security Administration & the Department of Public Safety office.)

Unused Marriage Licenses

If for any reason the marriage license is unused, please return it to our office along with a note stating that it was unused. If the license is never returned with an explanation, the record reflects that it was issued but not recorded, therefore the outcome is unknown.

A person who conducts a marriage ceremony after the marriage license has expired commits an offense. An Offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by fine of not less than $200 and more than $500.


A couple may sign a Declaration of Informal Marriage (Texas Family Code, Subchapter E). To be eligible for an informal license, both participants must be over 18. A person may not be a party to an informal marriage or execute a declaration of an informal marriage if the person is presently married to a person who is not the other party to the informal marriage or declaration of an informal marriage, as applicable.

Obtaining a Declaration of Informal Marriage

The couple must bring the following to the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office:
  • Proof of identity and age using documents approved by Section 2.005(b) Family Code.
  • The Social Security Number of each applicant (if the applicant has one). Applicants do not need to show a Social Security Card.
  • Date cannot be prior to June 26, 2015 if same sex marriage.

At the Clerk’s Office, the couple will complete a Declaration of Informal Marriage License and pay the $46.00 fee. Both applicants must swear or affirm that the information provided is correct and both sign the declaration. The Declaration of Informal Marriage will show the date the couple agreed to be married. The date can be the current date or any prior date the couple could legally marry. On execution of the declaration, the county clerk shall record the declaration or certificate of informal marriage; deliver the original of the certificate of informal marriage to the parties. An executed declaration or a certificate of informal marriage recorded as provided in this section is prima facie evidence of the marriage of the parties. A person commits an offense if the person knowingly provides false, fraudulent, or otherwise inaccurate proof of the person's identity or age under this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

Marriage Resources

List of Local Judges Who Perform Marriage Ceremonies

72 Hour Waiver Form

Affidavit of Absent Applicant



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