New Mexico Marriage Laws

The state of New Mexico is often referred to as the Land of Enchantment. With some of the simpler and more straightforward marriage laws in the country, it’s easy to see why couples would be drawn to it – that and the amazing landscapes, of course. So if you’re a pair of star-crossed lovers looking to tie the knot in New Mexico, you and your minister might benefit from a quick glance at this set-by-step guide, which the Universal Life Church has put together make sure your union is fully legally binding.

Requirements for the Minister

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

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.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
None
Min. Age of Witnesses:
N/A
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

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.

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:
$25.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
No
Blood Test Required:
No

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.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
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.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
First Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

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.

Final Steps

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Minister
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.