Getting a marriage license online in Texas has become prevalent as couples increasingly seek the convenience and simplicity of tying the knot online. In this step-by-step guide, we'll navigate the digital landscape of matrimony in Texas with the assistance of Courtly

The popularity of obtaining a marriage license online is on the rise, reflecting the increasing preference of couples for the convenience and simplicity of tying the knot virtually. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the digital landscape of matrimony, focusing on the general steps involved in getting married online.

In-Person Wedding Requirements in Texas

Getting a marriage license in Texas involves a visit to the county clerk's office in person. Both parties need to present valid identification, such as a driver's license, certified birth certificate, passport, military identification card, and Social Security cards.

Several requirements must be met for marriage in Texas. Proper identification, as mentioned earlier, is essential. Individuals must be at least 18 years old to marry independently. For those aged 16 to 18, parental consent or a court order is necessary, while those younger than 16 require a court order for permission to marry. Residency in Texas is not a prerequisite.

Couples are encouraged to partake in a premarital education course lasting at least eight hours, ideally completed within a year preceding the marriage license application. A 72-hour waiting period exists between obtaining the license and the marriage ceremony. Exceptions to this waiting period include members of the armed forces, cases approved by a judge, or completion of a premarital education course.

The cost of the marriage license is $60 in cash, although fees are waived for those who have undergone a premarital education course. Military personnel being deployed to a hostile fire zone are also exempt from the fee.

Authorized individuals who can officiate marriages in Texas include licensed or ordained ministers, priests, rabbis, justices of the peace, and most judges.

For common law marriage in Texas, both parties must be 18 or older, not currently married, agree to the marriage, cohabit in Texas as husband and wife, and represent themselves as married to others. Informal marriages can be registered at the county clerk's office using a form provided by the Vital Statistics Unit of the Department of State Health Services.

Obtaining a Marriage License from Texas Online

In 2021, Texas passed Senate Bill 907 (SB907) to enhance access to remote marriage license services. The legislation, effective from June 2021, empowers county clerks to use online video conference technology for issuing marriage licenses. SB907 permits counties with certified clerks to conduct the entire marriage license process online, from application to certificate issuance. This eliminates the need for couples to physically appear before the county clerk, a requirement in the traditional process. 

While some Texas counties already allow online application initiation, SB907 streamlines the entire process, ensuring that remote completion is legally recognized as having appeared before the court. The law signifies a significant step toward modernizing and simplifying the marriage license application in Texas.

If you choose to get a marriage license through Texas online but still want to have an in-person wedding, several counties offer the option of obtaining a marriage license using online processes. As per the Texas Family Code's Section 2.001, couples can get a marriage license from any county clerk's office throughout Texas. 

For example, in Tarrant County, you can obtain an online marriage license completely online. Note that your ceremony would still need to be in person if you go through this process. Here is an overview of the steps for obtaining a marriage license in Tarrant County.

To get an online marriage license in Tarrant County, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Tarrant County's Marriage License Page: Go to the Tarrant County Clerk's official website at Tarrant County Clerk - Marriage Licenses to view the full list of instructions. 
  2. Follow the Application Process: Tarrant County has an online application system which allows you to process everything online, without the need to set foot in their office. Follow the specified steps for completing the online marriage license application. Provide the necessary information accurately.
  3. Certification and Approval: After submitting the application, the county clerk will review and certify the marriage license request. Ensure that all required documentation is in order.
  4. Receive the Marriage License: Once approved, you will receive the marriage license electronically. Ensure that you download and store it securely.

General Requirements

There are two kinds of marriage licenses: Declaration and Registration of an Informal Marriage (Common law) and Formal Marriage License. The basic requirements are the same for both forms of marriage.

  • Personal Appearance or Video Conference: Both parties must appear in person or via video conference. Video conference is available for formal marriage license applicants only.
  • Age Requirement: Both parties must be at least 18 years old.
  • Valid Identification: A valid, government-issued picture ID is required, reflecting names exactly as they appear on the IDs. Accepted IDs include a driver's license, state ID, passport, military ID, or visa.
  • Social Security Number: Both parties must know their Social Security numbers.
  • Affidavit of Age and Identity Form (for video conference applicants only).
  • No Blood Test Required.

A $100 Out-of-State Applicant fee will be assessed if neither applicant can prove Texas residency. Acceptable proof includes a driver's license, state ID, handgun license, vehicle registration, and other forms listed.

Formal Marriage Specifics

  • Waiting Period: A 72-hour waiting period exists after the license is issued, which can be waived under specific criteria, such as military service or obtaining a 72-hour waiver from a District Judge.
  • Marriage Timeframe: The marriage must take place within 90 days from the date of issuance.
  • Divorce Waiting Period: If divorced, a 30-day waiting period after the divorce is final before remarriage, unless waived.
  • Fee: The fee for a formal marriage license is $75, payable in cash or by card with an additional fee for credit card use.
  • Discount for Marriage Education Class: Couples attending the State of Texas approved Marriage Education Class receive a $15 discount with a valid Twogether in Texas Certificate.
  • Recording Process: After the ceremony, the recorded license can be expedited by hand-delivering it to specified locations.

Note that Tarrant County has two online marriage license application options. One can be filled out online, but applicants must appear in person to sign and purchase the license. The other is a fully virtual option powered by GovOS. Visit the Tarrant County website to see full details on the process for each. 

Courtly: Simplifying the Online Marriage Process in Texas

Courtly offers a straightforward solution for couples seeking a simplified marriage process. It allows couples the flexibility to complete the entire procedure remotely, eliminating the need for extensive documentation. Through Courtly's efficient approach, couples can swiftly obtain a valid U.S. marriage certificate with ease.

Step-by-Step Guide for Getting Married Online in Texas with Courtly

1. Create an Account

To begin, create an account on Courtly. Click on the "Get Married" icon situated in the top right corner of the website and follow the prompts. Once the account is set up, you gain access to the Courtly platform.

2. Choose Ceremony Format, Setting, and Officiant

Choose your preferred ceremony format, venue, and style to align with your preferences. Depending on the selected date and time, Courtly will pair you with one of their legally qualified U.S. officiants.

3. Confirmation and Payment

Following the selection of your chosen wedding package, proceed to make the payment. Upon successful completion of the payment process, you will receive an email confirmation from Courtly, confirming the initiation of your wedding plans.

4. Online Marriage Celebration

Gather your family and friends online to celebrate your marriage. Whether you decide to tie the knot from the comfort of your home or any location with a reliable internet connection, the online ceremony typically concludes within about 15 minutes.

Following your online wedding, you will promptly receive a digital copy of your U.S. marriage certificate. Courtly will also deliver a printed copy within 1 to 2 weeks. Additionally, you can download your digital marriage license within 24 hours after the ceremony.

The Legality of Online Marriages in Texas

Before the pandemic, certain jurisdictions had strict laws requiring the officiant and the couple to be present in person for the marriage to be deemed lawful. Couples also had to go in person to the county clerk's office to get a marriage license.

Then in 2019, the Utah County marriage license office and the information technology departments collaborated to create an innovative and fully digital marriage license application procedure. This innovative system successfully eliminated the need for couples to physically visit the office to get and return their marriage licenses.

One important feature of Utah's online marriage process is that it is available to everyone, regardless of residence. In general, marriages performed legally in one state are accepted across the United States of America. Both state and federal laws must be followed by them. This means that a couple that lawfully weds online using Utah's system will also have their marriage recognized by other states.

The Legality of Online Marriages Outside the US

To have your wedding recognized in another country, you might need an Apostille certification. An apostille is a special certificate that serves as a guarantee that your marriage license is valid, legally authentic, and acknowledged in all nations that have ratified The Hague Apostille Convention of 1961. It ensures that your marriage document holds international validity and can be easily verified.

In the U.S., court officials can legally perform ceremonies online. However, other countries may not accept them. This is especially true if your partner is from another country. Sometimes, you may need to take extra steps to meet the specific rules of another country.

Getting an Apostille certification can address these concerns and ensure your marriage license is accepted abroad. But before using your marriage certificate, research and consult the authorities or embassies of that country to understand their recognition requirements.

Conclusion

Opting for an online marriage through Courtly caters to the preferences of couples prioritizing convenience, efficiency, and flexibility. For those aiming to sidestep the intricacies and paperwork associated with conventional in-person marriages, Courtly's online marriage process serves as a practical alternative. Furthermore, Courtly's offerings cater to couples seeking a prompt acquisition of a valid U.S. marriage certificate, all achieved with minimal documentation.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

Get Married