View Full Version : If you don't return the marriage license

Just Me 1973
07-12-2006, 02:11 PM
Is the marriage valid if you don't return the marriage license? I called the county clerk and they said yes it is, but I don't understand how it can be valid without the lisence being that a minister or whoever preforms the ceremony has to sign it. How does the county know that there was a ceremony without that??

07-12-2006, 03:05 PM
Someone else posted a question very similar to this just a few days ago.....I'll have to search for it, she was to call the court house on Monday and ask them about the situation that she was talking about.

I didn't think that it would be valid for the very reasons that you state. If it's not returned and signed how do they know that the people didn't change their minds and NOT get married. How can the courthouse say that they are LEGALLY married JUST because they applied for a marriage license? Lots of people back out at the last minute.....I thought that the marriage license had to be filed in the clerk's office within 30 days of the actual ceremony, but not for sure on the time frame.

07-12-2006, 03:41 PM
According to my paperwork (I'm a certified minister) the marriage certificate MUST be returned to the court house to be registered. I'm sure there might be a few cases where some got lost in the mail etc... but as far as I know, its not "legal" until the court house registers it. I always send the couple a note to let them know I mailed in the certificate by registered mail and give them the tracking number so they know it got there. I also suggest that they check with the courthouse to make SURE its there!

07-12-2006, 07:04 PM
Cassi - I checked with that other member that I mentioned and she called the county clerk's office on Monday and was told the same thing - that it's still legal and valid even though the marriage license was not returned and registered.

I think that unused marriage licenses are supposed to be returned to the courthouse also, so maybe it's just implied that if it's not returned unused, then you MUST have gone through with the marriage??

I wonder if Texas is the only state that does it this way???

07-14-2006, 09:11 AM
I know in Alabama if you don't return the license the chaplin, bride and groom signed then you are not legally married. You have 30 days from application before it expires.

07-14-2006, 09:18 AM
OMG, what about Vegas?? Our names were on the Vegas website as being married BUT we NEVER returned anything. We went to the courthouse and got a license, but we never sent anything back to the courthouse. Could we have NOT been married in the FIRST place...?

Just Me 1973
07-15-2006, 05:02 PM
Thanks ladies... i am still confused though.. I don't understand how it can be legal without returning the certificate. It's Texas though so...

07-15-2006, 05:44 PM
Your best bet is to call your registration office and ask that way you know for SURE!

07-15-2006, 07:02 PM
I Am From Texas, You Have To Return It To The Issuing County For It To Be Valid.

Doc's Sis
07-16-2006, 07:04 AM
Wouldn't the pastor or who ever married you be the one to send it in?? I was married once in church and the pastor took care of it. Then I was married at the court house and they took care of it. I never had to send anything in to get registered. Yes, do call Clerk of Courts and find out if you are registered!

Just Me 1973
07-16-2006, 09:06 AM
I did call the county clerk, and the man I talked to said my friend is married even though the license wasn't returned. I just found it so odd, because without the returned license, how do they know that my friend and his wife actually got married? But if the county clerk has them filed as married I guess all he can do is get a divorce.

07-16-2006, 05:32 PM
I got married in Texas 3/11/06 at FCI-Seagoville and the Justice of the Peace offered to send it in and I said I would take it in. When I took it in the clerk told me some people don't send them in and it is still legal. The reason she gave why you should send it in is in case you lose it and you need an offical copy, like for Social Security. Also, in the future if someone is doing geneology search they would find it in the courthouse. When it is sent in, it is just being recorded.