If you are married to someone and not divorced yet and they get married to someone else, is it illegal if they had an ordained minister marry them without a marriage license?

Asked on November 15, 2012 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In order to perferct a valid, enforceable marriage, it's always better to get a license and get married through the traditional formal marriage process.  However, the absence of a license does not make a marriage illegal in Texas--- because Texas still recognizes informal or common law marriages.  If the parties agreed to be married, held themselves out to be married, and then lived together, the marriage would be considered a legally binding marriage, just like any other formal marriage.

However, what would make the marriage illegal is the existence of a prior marriage that had not been resolved by law or divorce or some other type of dissolution of the marriage.  If the other person remarried without resolving the first marriage, then they could be found guilty of bigamy.  In Texas, bigamy is still an offense which is classified as a felony level offense.

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