Thursday, February 02, 2006

the texas marriage

Well, here we go…a review of the Texas Family Code. The headings I have used do not exactly track the Texas Family Code, but specific sections will be referenced as we move along. You may want to leave the family code link opened so that you can continually refer to it.

If anyone ever happens to look at this family law blog…please feel free to comment or ask questions as we go along.

Getting Married

The “Formal” Marriage

Generally, a marriage validly created in one state will be recognized in all other states. I say “generally” because of the new hot topic of gay marriages. Below we will discuss how Texas generally side-steps this issue.

If you are married in another state, but reside in Texas, the laws of the State of Texas apply to you regardless of where you were married. Any marriage entered into in the State of Texas is presumed valid unless evidence is offered otherwise.

The first step in getting married in Texas is to obtain a license. The requirements for the license can be found under §§2.001 through 2.501.

Only a man and a woman can apply for a marriage license in Texas. Persons of the same sex cannot be issued a license. This is set out in §2.001. Texas continues with this line of thought later in §6.204 by prohibiting “civil unions” or anything purporting to give persons of the same sex marital rights. This applies to laws of other states as well. It is against the State of Texas’ “public policy”. Therefore gay marriages from other states are not recognized here.

I will not bore you with other license requirements except to answer the common questions of how old you have to be to get married. Typically, you have to be over 18 years of age to get a license. You can get married at age 14 or older if you meet the requirements set out in §2.003. You can even be married at ages under 14 if you ask the court to allow it and they do!

You cannot marry persons related by whole or half blood or by adoption. A marriage attempted in violation of this is “void”, i.e. it never existed. Don’t be to down, first cousin’s can still marry! Yee ha!

Another important point for those of you who are recently divorced, you cannot obtain a license to marry if you were divorced in the prior thirty days unless you are marrying the person you just divorced (yikes) or the court waives the requirement. IMPORTANT NOTE, if you absolutely must jump back into the fire within thirty days, get the judge to waive the prohibition in your decree of divorce. They will almost always grant the request.

Next week we tackle the “informal” marriage.