Marriage Essentials: Understanding the Laws and Regulations

The Law Office of J. Michael Clay presents a comprehensive FAQ guide to all you need to know about the legalities of tying the knot.

Who is Eligible to Get Married?

Before you can say “I do,” you must fulfill certain legal criteria. While specifics can differ from state to state, common requirements include:

  • Reaching the minimum age of consent, often 18 years old, or younger with parental permission
  • Not being closely related by blood to your intended spouse
  • Possessing the mental capacity to comprehend the marriage commitment and its implications
  • Being sober during the marriage vows
  • Currently being single and not married to someone else
  • Completing a blood test in some states
  • Procuring an official marriage license

What Relationships Are Legally Forbidden in Marriage?

Laws across all states prevent individuals from marrying relatives, including siblings, half-siblings, parents, children, and various other close family members. Beyond these, some states might impose additional bans.

How Do We Acquire a Marriage License?

Marriage licenses are typically issued by any county clerk’s office in the state where your wedding will be. Depending on state regulations, there might be a small fee and sometimes a brief waiting period before the license becomes valid. Remember, licenses have expiration dates, so be aware of the timeframe and obtain a new one if needed.

What is the Procedure for Getting Marriage Certificate Copies?

Should you need an additional copy of a marriage certificate, for yourself or another, you can easily obtain this documentation. For guidance, visit the National Center for Health Statistics at Expect to incur a modest fee for each requested copy.

Is a Blood Test Mandatory Before Marriage?

Some states still request blood tests before marriage, checking for certain diseases or genetic issues. However, HIV tests are not standard, and at times, informative HIV and AIDS material is provided. Depending on your test results and the state, the issuance of a marriage license may be affected.

Who Can Legally Officiate a Wedding?

A civil ceremony must be conducted by an authorized individual, such as a judge, court clerk, or a person with special, temporary legal power to marry couples. Religious ceremonies typically involve clergy members. Native American weddings can be presided over by tribal leadership or designated officials.

Are There Specific Requirements for the Wedding Ceremony?

Although no particular wording is legally mandated during the ceremony as long as the mutual intent to marry is clear, most couples choose to have witnesses, while not always a state requirement.

For questions or to schedule a Free Consultation, contact The Law Office of J. Michael Clay at 210-694-5205. Our team is dedicated to guiding you through the legalities of marriage to ensure your union commences smoothly and legally.

Client Reviews

Mr. Clay exceeded my expectations. I was fighting for custody and child support with a bully of an ex. He was tough with the other lawyer and made sure that I was not taken advantage of. His knowledge and experience was very apparent. I highly recommend Mr. Clay to anyone needing legal aid.

K. Aleman

Absolute pro! If you need a Lawyer that truly understand law and can answer any question you present him with, Mr. Clay is your man! I am extremely happy to have him represent me! Picking a lawyer is like picking a real estate agent. So many, so it can be hard but let me tell you I am 100% happy...

P. Martinez

Mr Clay represented me during my divorce in 2011. He was absolutely incredible throughout the entire process. He is very reasonable and is hands down one of the best attorneys in San Antonio, Texas. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for an attorney!!!!!

B. Johnson

Contact Us We’re Here to Help You

Fill out the form or call us at 210-694-5205 to schedule your free consultation.

* Please refrain from divulging confidential, attorney-client protected information until The Law Office of J. Michael Clay can determine that doing so would not result in a conflict-of-interest between our firm and an existing or potential client.