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 valid identification (driver’s license, certified copy of birth certificate, DPS issued identification card or a passport) 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, and there are no restrictions on who can be an absent applicant. An absent applicant form must be completed, signed by the absent applicant, and notarized before being submitted with the absent applicant’s proper (ORIGINAL) identification.
  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 $82.00 in CASH OR CREDIT/DEBIT CARD ONLY, unless you have taken the “TWOGETHER IN TEXAS” workshop. What is Twogether in Texas? It is a state program working in partnership with a federal Healthy Marriage Initiative which:
    • Is effective September 1, 2008.
    • Allows a couple who attends an eight-hour, qualifying premarital education course to forgo the 72 hour waiting period after applying for a marriage license.
    • Reduces the marriage license fee from $82.00 to $22.00
    • 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.

When will I receive the recorded Marriage License?

After the license is returned to our office for recording, it may take up to 7-10 business days to receive your original license in the mail. However, if it is needed sooner, a certified copy of the license and application may be obtained from our office for $7.00. (If you are going to change your last name you will need a certified copy to take to the Social Security Administration and 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.

Declarations of Informal Marriage

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.

Obtaining a Declaration of Informal Marriage

  1. The couple must bring the following to the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office:
    • Proof of identity and age using documents approved by state law. These may include an official copy of the applicant’s birth certificate, a driver’s license or state-issued identification card, or an approved document issued by Texas or another state, the United States, or a foreign government (i.e., passport, visa, military identification, etc.).
    • The Social Security Number of each applicant (if the applicant has one). Applicants do not need to show a Social Security Card.

At the Clerk’s Office, the couple will complete a Declaration of Informal Marriage License and pay the $47.00 fee. 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.

Marriage Resources

List of Local Judges Who Perform Marriage Ceremonies

72 Hour Waiver Form

Affidavit of Absent Applicant