Marriage

Marriage – An Evolving Institution

The history of the institution of marriage is as varied as the many cultures and societies throughout the world.

In early Greek and Roman times, marriage was merely a mutual agreement between spouses and no civil ceremony was required. This type of marital relationship prevailed through the early Christian era as well, and marriage was considered a private matter with no religious or civil recognition being necessary.

By the 1600’s, in Europe and America, marriages were negotiated arrangements between families. The arrangements were based on economic considerations and status in society with the purpose of ensuring future prosperity and stability for the family.

Arriving in the 21st century, we find a shift in how Americans view marriage. According to recent U.S. polls, the majority of people surveyed believe the primary purpose of marriage is no longer to have children, but now serves to fulfill the desire for a romantic relationship, committed to providing emotional and psychological support between two individuals.

Marriage as a U.S. Legal Institution

In the United States, marriage is an institution that is recognized not only by society in general, but also by religious organizations and the legal system. From a legal standpoint, marriage is governed at the state rather than federal level, except when state laws are passed that violate constitutional rights. For example, state laws prohibiting interracial marriage were found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1967 in the case Loving v. Virginia.

Texas Laws on Marriage

Here are some of the parameters set by Texas laws on marriage:

  • Residency - There is no residency requirement to live in Texas in order to be married in Texas.
  • Premarital Education Course – Under Texas statutes, each person applying for a marriage license is encouraged to attend a premarital education course of at least four hours during the year preceding the date of the application for license. The course may be completed by personal instruction, videotape instruction, electronic medium instruction or a combination of these methods.
  • Texas Waiting Period from Date License Is Issued until Marriage - There is a 3-day waiting period from the issuance of the marriage license until the couple can marry. Active duty military personnel may have the waiting period waived.
  • Texas Waiting Period after Divorce before Remarriage – There is a 30 day waiting period after divorce before a divorced party can re-marry.
  • Marriage License Fee - Beginning September 2008, the marriage state license fee in Texas doubles from $30 to $60 (not counting local fees); however, couples who take an 8-hour premarital course may have the state fee waived altogether and only have to pay local fees for a marriage license. The state legislature passed this waiver provision in an effort to reduce divorce rates in Texas. The pre-marital course addresses communication skills and conflict management and must be done within one year before the wedding.
  • Age Requirement - The age limit for marriage in Texas is 18. Official parental or guardian consent is required for persons between 16 and 17 years old who wish to marry.
  • Blood Test/Physical – No blood test or physical examination is required for marriage in Texas.
  • Statement regarding Child Support Payment – Since 1995, Texas marriage licenses have contained a statement regarding child support that must be answered as “true” or “false.” The statement reads, “I am not presently delinquent in the payment of court-ordered child support. TRUE FALSE”
  • Same Sex Marriage – Same sex marriage or unions are banned in Texas. In 2005, 76% of Texas voters overwhelmingly passed the ban and reaffirmed heterosexual unions and marriages.
  • Marriage between Cousins – Marriage between cousins is not allowed in Texas.
  • Marriage by Proxy – Affidavit of Absence forms and Prison Proxy forms are available for adult brides and grooms who are unable to appear before the county clerk for a marriage license.
  • Common Law Marriage/Informal Marriage – In Texas, a common law marriage is also referred to as an informal marriage. Basically, an informal marriage is for adults over 18 who are living together and informally commit to being married. Individuals under the age of 18 may not enter into an informal marriage.

There are two ways to have your common law marriage legally recognized:

  1. Sign a Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage at the County Clerk’s office. The declaration you will sign 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.”
  2. A man and woman can live together, represent themselves as married and agree with each other that they are married.

License and marriage laws change from time to time and also vary from state to state. In Texas, some counties have different marriage license fees and requirements than others. So, it is best to check with your local marriage license office or county clerk beforehand, to make sure you have everything you need when applying for a marriage license. If there is a legal concern regarding marriage, you should consult with a family law attorney to obtain legal advice.

Related website: http://www.thewrightlawyers.com

Client SupportJoin Our
Community

Great Information from Others, Share Your Own Tips, Expert Advice, Get the Latest News

Client SupportAsk Your
Questions

Our FAQs and Topical Forums can help answer your questions about this stressful time in your life. See the most recent below or Read All the FAQS »

Articles

Financial Guide To Texas Divorce
The idea behind this guide is to explain some of the basic financial aspects of ending a marriage in terms that someone without a law degree can understand.

Financial Checklist In Divorce
The idea behind this guide is to explain some of the basic financial aspects of ending a marriage in terms that someone without a law degree can understand.

The Finance of Divorce in an Economic Downturn
The idea behind this guide is to explain some of the basic financial aspects of ending a marriage in terms that someone without a law degree can understand.

Divorce Guide
The purpose of this guide is to teach you some of the basic rules regarding divorce.


Recent Media
& Articles

  • Podcast

    PODCASTS: Download and listen to our most recent podcast

  • Blog

    BLOG: Read what our Attorneys and Mediators have posted about Divorce and Family Law

Sponsored by The Wright Law Firm



Disclaimer | Copyright | Privacy | Terms Of Use
Splitsville Texas is for informational purposes only. This site does not provide legal advice, financial advice, or medical, counseling, or psychological treatment. This site is not a substitute for the professional guidance of a lawyer, financial professional, or medical professional.

About splitsville | Glossaries | FAQS | Resources | Community | Contact Us | Home

© 2014

Family Law Divorce Marriage Child Custody Visitation Mediation Divorce and Taxes What to Look For in a Family Law Attorney When to Seek the Advice of a Family Layer Mediation or Litigation Can the Court Enforce a Lifestyle? Family Law Divorce Marriage Child Custody Visitation Mediation Divorce and Taxes What to Look For in a Family Law Attorney When to Seek the Advice of a Family Lawyer Mediation or Litigation Sign up for our mailing list Splitsville-Texas.com Home Sign up for our mailing list Splitsville-Texas.com Home