Unfortunately, tying the knot is never quite as easy as grabbing each other's hands and running off to a justice of the peace. Each state has its laws and requirements for getting a marriage license first.
These are the basic requirements in New Mexico. Some requirements can vary from county to county and can change over time, so call ahead before you run off to the courthouse to get your license. Marriage licenses are available at any county clerk's office in the state. For example, in Santa Fe (Santa Fe County) the County Clerk's office is at 102 Grant Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501 and that office only accepts cash for the marriage license fee. And in Albuquerque (Bernalillo County) you can apply for a marriage license online. Call your local county courthouse ahead of time to get all the details.
You must take the license out together—both of you must appear before the clerk to ask for it. There's no waiting period to use it and it doesn't expire after a certain period.
You'll need a current ID bearing your picture to get a marriage license in New Mexico. If you don't have a valid photo driver's license or photo student ID, you can use your passport instead. You'll also need your Social Security number, and you can't just rattle it off from memory. If you can't lay your hands on your Social Security card, take a copy of your tax return or another tax document, such as your W-2.
You do not have to be a resident of New Mexico to get a marriage license here, and when you get the license, you can use it to be married anywhere in the state.
You have to be at least 18 years old to marry in New Mexico unless you have special permission from your parents or the court. You'll need the permission of your parents if you're at least 16 years old but not yet 18. Both your parents must agree if they're still living. If one of your parents is no longer living, you'll need a copy of the death certificate.
A district court judge must issue an order allowing you to marry if you're at least 15 years old but not yet 16. In any case, you'll need proof of your age, which should appear on your driver's license or birth certificate.
Not Your First Marriage?
You won't need proof that your previous marriage has ended if you've been married before, but you will have to provide the date and state of your divorce or the date of your spouse's death.
You don't have to submit to a blood test or any other type of physical exam to get married in this state.
The state's fee for a marriage license is $25. Paying in cash is preferred, but major credit cards might be accepted if you call ahead.
Some Other Marriage Laws
- A few states recognize covenant marriages, but New Mexico isn't one of them. A covenant marriage involves attending counseling before you wed and agreeing in writing that you will only divorce on limited fault grounds.
- You can't get married by proxy in New Mexico. This means that if you can't make it to the church on time, you can't send someone else in your place to stand in for you. Both spouses must be present.
- You'll need that marriage license, and you'll have to use it in an official ceremony because New Mexico doesn't recognize common law marriages—those where you can be considered legally married if you hold yourselves out to the public as husband and wife and have lived together for some time.
- New Mexico has no problem with it if you want to marry your cousin.
- New Mexico's Supreme Court declared in a December 2013 ruling that denying marriage licenses to gay couples was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court followed suit in a landmark decision in June 2015 that obligates all states to recognize same-sex marriages.
And there you have it. Take your marriage license to any justice of the peace or ordained or licensed religious leader and tie the knot. Congratulations and much happiness as you begin your lifetime journey together!