SaenzAGOpinion by bobbywc



                Luis V. Saenz
                Drstrid Allonrey

OctotH:r 23. 21l 11

fhe Honorob1e Greg Ahhot
Auomey Gcnern1 of Texas
P.O. Box 12548
Au~un. Texa.~ 7R711

Rc.      Rc4 ucst lhr Atl\lmcy General Opullon

Dear General Ahboll

       We fl'qU~t your opinion a.~ to whether a JUStice ufthc peace as nutlmri:~:cd In grant
72-hour waavo:rs under Texas ~nmaly C'1>dc secllnn 2.204(c); and tf so, whether the justice
of the peace may charge a fcc lor issuing sa ad waiver; and 1f '0. must that fi!e be
dcpo~1tcd intn the county trca~ury.    Because th1s mauer IS urgent. we respectfully
r equest ex pedited consid eration of t his ma tter. Out memorandum hricf is set forth

  I . Docs section 2.204(c) of the Tcxns Famtly Code uuthori7c o justice of the peace
      to sigo and is~ue a wa1vcr of the 72-he>ur waitiop. period atler the "'uaoec of a
      mama~::c liccn,c?

      2. Assumtng that the aru.wcr to quesuon number one IS in the affinnahvc, may a
         JUSIIcc of the pe.1cc ch"rgc a fee lnr the Mgning and ISSuance of a waiver of the
          72-hnur wailing period nficr the tssunnce of a mamagc license?

      3. Assurmng that the answer to question numher two is in the affinnativc. may a
         JUstice 1•f the peace retnm Ices rcce1vcd for ~igning und issuing a watvcr o r the 72·
         hour wniting pcnod. or would the JUStice of the peace he required to pay the~
         f=- 111Wthc: county trca~ury?

                                Cameron County Courthouse
                      964 E. Harri son Stre~t • Brownsville, T~xas 78520
                           Mainline: 956.544.0849 Fax: 956.544.0869
Page 2
The Honomblc Greg Ahhot
Attorney General l'fl cxas
October 23. 2013

        The Justice of the J'~ncc filr Precinct 2. Place 2 of Cameron Cnunty. Texas. has,
on several occasions. signed a1ld 1ssued wa1vcrs of the 72 hour waiting period a ncr the
"'uancc uf a marriage: l1ccnsc. l"hcsc wai\CP• have been granted m connection with sa1d
Justice of the Peace also conductmg mama~-c ccrcmomcs Immediately following the
execution of a w3ivcr.
        Additi<•nally. ~aid .lu<llcc of th.: Pence hus charged a S25 fcc for the ,jgning and
issuance <>f each of said wmvcrs, h>gcthcr with a $150 fcc fur conducting each marriage
ceremony. None of these tC..-s have been submitted to the county treasurer.

        Scctum 2.204{a) <•f the Texas Cndc provides that "( c]xcc1>t n' provided by
this section. a marriage ceremony muy not take place during the 72-ll()Ur period
immediately following the t~<.uance ufthc marriage license." Suhscction (b) of this same
section then provides ccnam 'uuntions when the 72-hour wailing period docs not apply.
Included in these sttualt!'n< whtch uhv~:~tc the 72-hour watttng period i' the situation
where a person obtains :t watver under suh,..<.-ctinn (c) Subsection (c) rrovidcs as

        (c)    An appltcont may ratucst a judge of a cout1 with jurisdiction in family law
               ca<;e.•. a ju•t1cc uf the •urreme C('IUrt. a JUdge of the C('IUrt of cnmmal
               :ti)I)Cl!IS. a county judge. l'r a JUdge of n cuun uf appeals for a written
               wai,·cr pcrrnilltng the marriage ceremony tu take place during thc 72-huur
               flenod immcdwtcly f<,llowing the issuance <lf the marriage license. If the
               judge finds that there is gond cause tor the marriage to take rloce during
                the period. the JUdge shall s1g11 the waiver. Notwithstandtng any other
                provision ol la". a Judge undet this '>CCI ton ha~ the authonty to sign a
                waiver under tht~ sect ton.

        C('lnsp1cuously absent llnm this list in subsection (c) is any reference to the office
of justice of the peace: nnd thctcforc. on the face on the ~tatutc it appca1 s that a justice of
the peace has no authonty tn ~tJ;tl ur grant a waiver of the 72-hour pcritld immediately
followmg the •s~uancc of a marriage licen-.c. We do acknowledge that the statute mak~
reference to •·n JUdge of n coun with juri<dictton in famtly law cases..: however. neither
Title I nor charter 101 of the Family C<ldc de lines this tenn.
The Honorable Greg Ahhol
Allomey General l>fTc~as
Octohcr 23. 2013

         We note thai Tc~a~ Government Code section 25.0002. while nul d irectly
applicable to the srluation at hand. docs define "famrly law cases and proceeding.~·· ns
cases and procccdinJ;:> under fill~ I. 2. 4, arld 5 of the Texas Family Cock An
cxamrnnuon of the Tcxa~ Famrly C'l>dc reveals that Ju~uce Courts 111 Texas do have
junsct rctrnn uver juvenile mallerl> (truancy) in certain circumstances, 11ur~uanl to section
54 021 of the Family Code: however. this is JUmdretinn nver ca.~c-. nnd proceedings
under l'itle 1 uf the Famrly Code (the Juvenrle Ju.~tice Code) Therefore. we can lind no
cwrcs.~ nuthnnty thai would authon~c a jusuce of the peace to r'l.~uc a waiver under
section 2.204 nf lhc Famrly Code. nevertheless. we seck nn opinron on this mnner to
dctcnnrnc ' I'Ju~lic~"t< of the peace do. in fact. have such authority.

        In the event that the Office Ill the Allomcy General ~hould dctcnnrnc that the law
dnes authllrvc n ju~tiec of the peace In rssuc a waiver of the 72-hour waiti ng pcrind. then
we next mquirc as to whether a ju~ti~.:~.: of the peace can dtargc a floe lor the ~ignmg ond
t~<unncc of ~uch a wa1vcr In much the same mnnncr that there ts no ~totute estahhshrng
a fcc for a marnage ceremony p.:rfonnetl by" JUdge. we can find no statute Cl>tnhlr~hmg a
fl:e w sign ond • ~sue a warvcr of the 72-huur waiting period. Nevertheless. this tirct doc.<
not prohibll a tudgc fTom charging for scrvicl'!; they nrc under no legal oblig:uion to
perlomt. Sc-<• \loon:,. Slu:ppanl. 192 S.W.2d 5W (1946) ~ Te~. 1\tt'y Gen Op. No. DM-
~Q7 (1996). In /tf{){m• ,. Sheppal'tl, the fcxo~ Supreme C'oun addrcs&ed the drsposition
of fees roccivccl hy cler~- <>f the c<>ul1s of e rvil appeals for fumishrng uncertified cupi<.:.'
or ppinion~ of the counq, where n<> statute made it the clerks· duty tu provide uneenlficd
coprcs. or lilted fees for providing these copR"· und concluded that the clcrl<s were not
rcqurrcd to pay the fees to the state. ld at 562. Attorney Gcn\:Tal Op1mon DM-397 relied
on the rule stated in Mrwl'<' to conclude that a JUdge of n cnur1 uf record could churge a
lee thr conducting a marrragc ccrenmny

        Ba~ct!  un the furegoing authonty. it "nuld appear that, rf a JU'ticc of the peace
du~s have authority to ~rgn and     is,ue a warver of the 72-hour waiting per iod. then sarcf
justice of the pc<rcc may :rlo;o have Juthnrity to charge a fcc for same.

        In the event thnt the Office of the Atto1ncy Gcncml should detemune that the law
dnc' authun/c a justice uf the pence In both issue and charge n fcc fl>r the issuanlll.: of a
waiver of the 72-hour wnrting pcritld, then we finally lll<Juire whether a JUStice uf the
pc<~ce may rctnrn said fcc;,. nr whether they must pny said fcc• into the county trea,ury.
Page 4
The llunorahlc Greg 1\l:>lx>t
Attomey General ofTe,as
Octohcr 2~. 2CII1

         Wathout express authority to rctaan fc(.'S received for signing and i;,~uing waivers
of the 72-hour waiting pcnO<I. ;1 justice of the 1x:acc woold be required by law to pay the
foc-:. mto the county treasury Tex. Local Gov·t Code§§ 111 021. 154.003, .<t'l! alsn rex.
An ·y Gen. Op. DM-397(1996). T he only Huthority whach may po,sihly ullow a j ustice o f
the peace to retam ICI!l> collected tor the i.-uance of a waiver as found in sectonn
154.(l05(a) nfthc Tc>.n\ Local (itwcmmcnt C'ndc. and is the same authonty which would
allm1 u just ace t> the peace ho retai n Ihe fcc loa perfbnnmg a maniage ccacmun y. The
statute read.~.

        (a)    A justice of the peace may rcccave. in nddnion tu a solnry, all Ices.
               C<lmmis"on'. t>r payments tor pcrfonning mnrriage ceremonies. for aettng
               as reg"trar tor the Hurcllu uf Vual Stat"t'l'. and for actmg as ex oflie10
               nntary public.

         The \IU~'Stion rcm.1n1;, whether the oolll:ctaon of a Icc lor the s•gmng anti i~uancc
of a waiver of the 72-hour pcri<>d following the i~suance of" mnniagc license would fall
into thl· catcgt>ry of"atl I~ thr pertonnang marriage ceremonies··

       We thank you o ndvnncc for your considt:rJ\Ion nn thas matter. ns we lo<lk
forward to your opinion as In whether a JUStice 1>f the peace as a uthCIIized to grant 72-hour
"':meN under Tcxa.' l'amaly C\ldc scchtln 2.204(c). and the other related quc..honx

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