Requirements for the Minister
- Min. Age of Minister:
- Age 18
- Not Required
- Document(s) Required:
- Varies by County
- Online Ordination Recognized:
- Relevant Office of Registration:
- County Clerk
- Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
- After the Ceremony
- Minister I.D. # Issued:
New Mexico law explicitly states that any person who is either an ordained member of the clergy or an authorized representative of a federally recognized Indian nation or tribe may solemnize a marriage without prejudice to sect, rites and customs. Judges, justices and magistrates of the court, both active and retired, are also recognized. All recognized officiants must be at least 18 years old.
Please remember that ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church fall into the category of ‘religious’ actors, and will be legally viewed as such in New Mexico (and beyond, for the most part) without prejudice to residence, gender or personal beliefs. Ministers may be asked to present their ordination credentials when returning the license and certificate, depending on the county. Those documents are available in the online catalog on our website.
N.M. Stat. § 40-1-2. Marriages solemnized; ordained clergy or civil magistrates may solemnize.
A. The civil contract of marriage is entered into when solemnized as provided in Chapter 40, Article 1 NMSA 1978. As used in Chapter 40, Article 1 NMSA 1978, "solemnize" means to join in marriage before witnesses by means of a ceremony.
B. A person who is an ordained member of the clergy or who is an authorized representative of a federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or pueblo may solemnize the contract of marriage without regard to sect or rites and customs the person may practice.
C. Active or retired judges, justices and magistrates of any of the courts established by the constitution of New Mexico, United States constitution, laws of the state or laws of the United States are civil magistrates having authority to solemnize contracts of marriage. Civil magistrates solemnizing contracts of marriage shall charge no fee therefor.
Wedding Ceremony Requirements
- Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
- Minister Required to be Present:
- Number of Witnesses Required:
- Min. Age of Witnesses:
- Couple's Consent Required:
- Pronouncement Required:
Like most states in the country, New Mexico makes no specific provisions as to how a wedding ceremony must unfold in order to be deemed legally binding, leaving it to the couple and minister to do so according to their specific customs and spiritual needs.
However, both the couple and minister must be physically present during the ceremony. At some point, each member of the couple must consent to taking the other as either husband or wife, declared before the minister and any witnesses present, even if none are legally required. Once the minister pronounces the couple married and the certificate is signed, sealed and delivered, the union is officially solemnized.
N.M. Stat. § 40-1-3. Ceremony by religious society.
It is lawful for any religious society or federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or pueblo to solemnize marriage conformably with its rites and customs, and the secretary of the society or the person authorized by the society or federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or pueblo shall make and transmit a transcript to the county clerk certifying to the marriages solemnized.
History: Laws 1862-1863, p. 66; C.L. 1865, ch. 75, § 8; C.L. 1884, § 984; C.L. 1897, § 1421; Code 1915, § 3428; C.S. 1929, § 87-104; 1941 Comp., § 65-103; 1953 Comp., § 57-1-3; Laws 1983, ch. 193, § 2; 1989, ch. 78, § 2; 2013, ch. 144, § 3.
Marriage License Requirements
- Who Picks Up License:
- The Couple
- Where License is Valid:
- Any County in New Mexico
- Marriage License Pick-Up:
- In Person Only
- Cost of License:
- Accepted I.D. Types:
- Photo ID
- Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
- Blood Test Required:
Any couple looking to tie the knot in New Mexico must personally appear before a county clerk and identify themselves with their social security number and government issued photo ID in order to secure a marriage license. Any party that can’t be physically present must petition a district court judge for an exemption based on good cause and file a certified copy of said judicial authorization with the clerk.
Other than that, the application process is relatively straightforward, as the state requires neither proof of prior divorce nor blood tests of any kind before issuing a marriage license and certificate. It costs $25 to apply.
N.M. Stat. § 40-1-10. License required; county clerk.
A. Each couple desiring to marry pursuant to the laws of New Mexico shall first obtain a license from a county clerk of this state and following a ceremony conducted in this state file the license for recording in the county issuing the license.
B. To obtain a marriage license, the couple shall personally appear at the office of the county clerk issuing the license and provide sufficient identification to satisfy the county clerk as to each person's identity and qualification to receive a marriage license pursuant to Chapter 40, Article 1 NMSA 1978. On application to a judge of the district court, the court, for good cause, may authorize a person unable to appear personally to obtain a license from the county clerk, and a certified copy of the judicial authorization shall be filed with the county clerk.
C. The county clerk:
(1) shall collect the social security number of an applicant for a marriage license only as provided for in Section 27-1-10 NMSA 1978;
(2) shall not make available a social security number to another person except as provided for in Section 27-1-10 NMSA 1978; and
(3) may, thirty days after the commencement of each fiscal year, dispose of, in a secure manner, those social security numbers collected in the previous fiscal year that have not been requested as provided for in Section 27-1-10 NMSA 1978.
History: Laws 1905, ch. 65, § 1; Code 1915, § 3435; C.S. 1929, § 87-111; Laws 1939, ch. 25, § 1; 1941 Comp., § 65-110; 1953 Comp., § 57-1-10; Laws 1969, ch. 104, § 1; 1973, ch. 51, § 3; 2013, ch. 144, § 7.
N.M. Stat § 40-1-11. Fees; disposition.
The county clerk shall receive a fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for issuing, acknowledging and recording a marriage license and marriage certificate. Fifteen dollars ($15.00) of each fee shall be remitted by the county treasurer to the state treasurer, within fifteen days of the last day of each month, for credit to the children's trust fund.
History: 1953 Comp., § 57-1-10.1, enacted by Laws 1957, ch. 33, § 1; 1977, ch. 253, § 64; 1979, ch. 131, § 1; 1985, ch. 52, § 1; 1986, ch. 15, § 10; 2013, ch. 144, § 8.
Marriage License Facts
- ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
- Mandatory Waiting Period:
- License Valid For:
- No Expiration
- License Must Be Submitted:
- Within 90 Days of Ceremony
The state of New Mexico is rather unique in that any marriage license issued on its soil is basically valid in perpetuity, giving couples ample time to plan their ceremonies. Those who are in a rush, meanwhile, can technically get married the second the clerk hands them the license.
It is the solemnizing minister or magistrate’s job to ensure the license and marriage certificate is returned to the same issuing clerk’s office within 90 days of the ceremony.
N.M. Stat. § 40-1-15. Certification of marriage; recording and indexing.
A. It is the duty of all persons solemnizing the contract of marriage in this state to certify the marriage to the county clerk within ninety days from the date of the marriage ceremony. Upon ensuring the information on the certificate is complete and legible, the county clerk shall immediately upon receipt of the certificate cause it to be properly recorded and indexed in a permanent record as a part of the county records.
B. The county clerk may issue a certificate of correction or correct or reissue an application for a marriage license, a marriage license or a certificate of marriage as a result of a typographical or data entry error by the office of the county clerk. The county clerk shall issue a certificate of correction or correct or reissue an application for a marriage license, a marriage license or a certificate of marriage to correct an error on the document upon order of the district court.
History: Laws 1905, ch. 65, § 4; Code 1915, § 3438; C.S. 1929, § 87-114; 1941 Comp., § 65-113; 1953 Comp., § 57-1-13; 2013, ch. 144, § 10.
Requirements for the Couple
- Min. Age of Couple:
- Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
- Not Required
- Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
- First Cousins
- Marriage Equality:
The state of New Mexico has set the age of majority for consensual marriages at 18-years-old. It therefore strictly forbids weddings between any persons ages 16 or 17 who don’t have the written consent of both living parents, as well as the marriage of any minor under 16 without the approval of the court, which parents or legal guardians may seek when the applicant is pregnant. County clerks and wedding officiants who knowingly help minors marry do so in violation of state law.
Out-of-state and same-sex couples are more than welcome in New Mexico. However, marriages between relations and children, grandparents and grandchildren, siblings of full or half blood or uncles/aunts and nieces/nephews shall be considered incestuous and void.
N.M Stat. § 40-1-6. Restrictions on marriage of minors.
A. The county clerk shall not issue a marriage license to an unemancipated person sixteen or seventeen years of age, and no person authorized by the laws of this state to solemnize marriages shall knowingly unite in marriage any person sixteen or seventeen years of age, unless the minor first receives the written consent of each of the minor's living parents as shown on the minor's certificate of birth, or the district court has authorized the marriage of such person upon request of a parent or legal guardian of the person for good cause shown, and a certified copy of the judicial authorization is filed with the county clerk.
B. The county clerk shall not issue a marriage license to any person under sixteen years of age, and no person authorized by the laws of this state to solemnize marriages shall knowingly unite in marriage any person under sixteen years of age, unless the children's or family court division of the district court has first authorized the marriage of the person upon request of a parent or legal guardian of the person in settlement of proceedings to compel support and establish parentage, or where an applicant for the marriage license is pregnant, and a certified copy of the judicial authorization is filed with the county clerk.
History: Laws 1876, ch. 31, § 2; C.L. 1884, § 993; C.L. 1897, § 1426; Code 1915, § 3431; Laws 1923, ch. 100, § 2; C.S. 1929, § 87-107; 1941 Comp., § 65-106; Laws 1953, ch. 112, § 1; 1953 Comp., § 57-1-6; Laws 1972, ch. 97, § 70; 1975, ch. 32, § 2; repealed and reenacted by Laws 2013, ch. 144, § 4.
N.M. Stat. § 28-6-1. Age of majority; eighteen years; exception.
A. Except as provided in Subsection B or otherwise specifically provided by existing law, any person who has reached his eighteenth birthday shall be considered to have reached his majority as provided in Section 12-2-2 NMSA 1978 [repealed] and is an adult for all purposes the same as if he had reached his twenty-first birthday.
B. For the purposes of the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act [repealed], as it relates to any gift made prior to June 18, 1971, the donee shall not be entitled to delivery or payment over of the gift until he has reached his twenty-first birthday.
History: 1953 Comp., § 13-13-1, enacted by Laws 1971, ch. 213, § 1; 1973, ch. 138, § 12.
N.M. Stat. § 40-1-7. Incestuous marriages.
All marriages between relations and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of all degrees; between brothers and sisters of full blood or of half blood; between uncles and nieces; and between aunts and nephews are declared incestuous and absolutely void.
History: Laws 1876, ch. 31, § 1; C.L. 1884, § 992; C.L. 1897, § 1425; Code 1915, § 3430; C.S. 1929, § 87-106; 1941 Comp., § 65-107; 1953 Comp., § 57-1-7; 2013, ch. 144, § 5.
- Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
- Church/Ordaining Body:
- Universal Life Church Ministries
- Address of Church:
- Minister's Home Address
With the couple free to honeymoon, the minister still has one very important task: to ensure the marriage license has been properly filled out and sgined by the couple, and that their own relevant title as minister, their ordaining body (the Universal Life Church) and their own home address has been provided, if an address of ministry is requested.
Once completed, the license and certificate must be delivered to the same county clerk where it was issued within 90 days, where it will be filed on permanent record.