In order to get married in New Mexico, you must first submit a New Mexico marriage license application at any county clerk's office.
No appointments necessary: just walk in. The application process takes about 30 minutes, so be mindful of closing hours. New Mexico counties can be found at page's end.
You'll be assisted by the county clerk—an elected official—or one of their designated deputy clerks.
If there's a good reason why you cannot apply together, a district court judge can authorize one applicant to apply absentee by way of a judicial authorization.
A New Mexico marriage license costs $25 regardless of which county clerk's office you apply in.
|40%||$10||Retained by county|
|60%||$15||Credited to the New Mexico children's trust fund|
There are no residency requirements; you may apply in any New Mexico county and marry anywhere within the State.
You must present photo identification proving your age and identity that's to the clerk's satisfaction, such as a driver's license, passport, or state, military, or student ID card.
If you don't have any government-issued photo ID, bring an original or certified copy of your birth certificate instead.
If you're 16 or 17 years old, you must also bring an original or certified copy of your birth certificate.
In New Mexico, the age of legal adulthood is 18 years. If you're below this age you'll need parental consent or judicial permission to marry before applying.
Age 16 and 17
If you're 16 or 17 years old, you may marry with your parents' or guardians' written consent or permission from a district court upon the request of a parent or legal guardian.
Emancipated minors do not require permission to marry.
Age 15 and younger
If you're 15 years old or younger, you may marry if you're pregnant or the children's or family court authorizes marriage upon the request of a parent or legal guardian.
Consent can either be granted in office or via notarized statement. Either way, blank consent forms can be picked up in the clerk's office.
Your consenting parents' names must match what's on your birth certificate. Legal guardians must furnish guardianship papers.
If one of your parents is deceased, you must bring a certified copy of their death certificate. If you have no living parent or guardian, obtain permission to marry from the district court.
Unwilling to grant consent
If your parents or guardians are unable or unwilling to grant consent for you to marry, your only recourse is to appeal to a district court judge.
Although the marriage license application form isn't universal across all counties, they're substantially comparable. Expect to be asked the following:
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Residential address
- Social security number
- Phone number
Social security number
Blood test and exam
You are no longer required to get a blood test and medical evaluation before marrying in New Mexico.
Your marriage license will be issued immediately after submitting your application; you can marry anytime afterward.
Your New Mexico marriage license will not expire after it's been issued.
Reissue lost license
If your marriage license is lost or destroyed before use, some county clerks may be willing to replace it for a fee while others require a new license be applied for.
The person who solemnizes your marriage is called the officiant. Some county clerk offices provide a list of local officiants available to solemnize your marriage.
Following are the persons who may lawfully solemnize marriages in New Mexico:
Your marriage may be solemnized by an ordained clergyperson belonging to any religious denomination.
Your marriage may be solemnized by a civil magistrate, who is an active or retired federal judge, justice, or magistrate. Civil magistrates may not charge a fee to solemnize.
Moreover, any justice of the peace, who is typically a magistrate judge, may also perform solemnizations.
Religious societies and Indians
Religious societies and federally recognized Indian nations, tribes, and pueblos may solemnize marriages as long as their authorized designee certifies the license.
At least two witnesses are required to attend your marriage ceremony and subsequently sign the certificate portion of the license afterward.
Although there is no minimum age requirement for witnesses, they should be competent enough to understand what's transpiring and able to sign their names.
Before your marriage can be solemnized or performed, you must present your marriage license to the authorized officiant for examination.
Completing the license
Once your ceremony is over, the officiant must immediately "certify" the certificate portion of the license by seeing to it that the following are entered:
- Date and place of marriage
- Your signature
- Your spouse's signature
- Signature of two witnesses
- Officiant's name or signature and official title
Returning the license
You or the officiant must return the completed license by hand or by mail to the issuing county clerk within 90 days following the ceremony so that it may be recorded.
From the State's perspective, your marriage doesn't officially exist until it's been recorded, time stamped, and filed by the clerk in the office's marriage record book.
You can order certified copies of your marriage certificate from the county clerk's office that issued your marriage license after your marriage has been recorded.
Where the "marriage license" allowed you to get married, the "marriage certificate" proves that you are married. Certified copies are legally equivalent to the original.
If you detect a clerical error on your certificate, you can request a correction from the clerk. Errors that are not the fault of the clerk will only be fixed if a district court orders it.
Name change after marriage
You can use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your last name after marriage with the Social Security Administration, Motor Vehicle Division, etc.
Even though the marriage application, license, and certificate doesn't provide the option to specify a new last name, using the certificate as-is will still allow you to change it.
If you have a living husband or wife and get married to another person, you would be guilty of bigamy and the subsequent marriage would be subject to nullification.
Punishment for bigamy
Bigamy is a fourth degree felony punishable by up to fourteen months imprisonment and a potential maximum fine of $5,000.
Marrying family members
If you were to marry any of the following members of your family, the marriage would be declared incestuous and absolutely void if solemnized in New Mexico:
- Sibling (full or half blood)
Punishment for incest
Entering into an incestuous marriage is a third degree felony punishable by up to three years imprisonment and a possible fine of up to $5,000.
First cousin marriage
You are permitted to marry your first cousin, as New Mexico law neither explicitly permits nor prohibits it.
If you were to get married outside of New Mexico and the marriage was lawfully conducted, this State would recognize it as lawful as well.
Although New Mexico law allows you to apply by proxy, marriage by proxy is prohibited; both you and your intended spouse must physically attend the ceremony.
New Mexico does not recognize common-law marriage.
Closing thoughts and next steps
The New Mexico marriage license, application, and certificate haven't changed much since 1961: the last time State statutes were modified to dictate the required format.
Truth be told, New Mexico's marriage laws are some of the most straightforward across the U.S. and certainly qualify for having the most concise application.
Now that you're aware of what the marriage application process entails, consult the list of New Mexico counties to find your nearest county clerk's office.