Marriage License Requirements
Marriage is a sacred union that marks the beginning of a lifelong journey between two people. In California, obtaining a marriage license is a crucial step towards legalizing this commitment. Whether you’re considering a public or confidential marriage license, it’s essential to understand the differences and requirements associated with each type. This article will guide you through the intricacies of public and confidential marriage licenses, shedding light on the costs, application process, and important details you need to know.
Marriage is a significant milestone in one’s life, and it all begins with obtaining a marriage license. California offers two main types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. Each type has its unique characteristics, and couples must choose the one that best suits their preferences and circumstances.
Types of Marriage Licenses
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is accessible to the general public for viewing. This type of license allows the personal information of the married couple to be available for public scrutiny. Anyone can obtain a copy of this license through the appropriate channels.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license maintains the privacy of the couple’s personal information. To access the information on a confidential marriage license, a court order or a notarized application by one of the spouses is required. This type of license is ideal for couples who value discretion.
Before a marriage license can be issued in California, certain requirements must be met:
Both parties, often referred to as “party A” and “party B,” need to provide a valid photo ID with their birth date. This can include a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old to obtain a marriage license in California.
Both parties should know their parents’ full names, including their mothers’ maiden names.
The state or country where the parents of the applicants were born is also required.
Obtaining a Confidential Marriage License
To qualify for a confidential marriage license, party A and party B must be cohabiting as a married couple. The same identification requirements apply as for a public marriage license.
Marriage License Fees
Obtaining a marriage license comes with a fee. As of the time of writing, a public marriage license costs $84, while a confidential marriage license costs $94. These fees can typically be paid in cash, by check, or money order.
Fortunately, there is no waiting period in California. Once you submit your application, you will receive your marriage license immediately.
You don’t need to be a California resident to marry in Butte County. This makes it convenient for couples planning destination weddings.
If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to provide the specific date your last marriage ended and how it ended (through death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity). Some counties might require documentation of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended in dissolution or nullity.
Common Questions about Marriage Licenses
- Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license? No, there is no waiting period. You’ll receive your license immediately after submitting your application.
- Can non-residents of California marry in Butte County? Yes, California allows non-residents to marry in the county.
- What are the costs associated with different types of licenses? A public marriage license costs $84, while a confidential license costs $94.
- Are proxy marriages allowed in California? No, California does not permit marriage by proxy.
- Who is authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California? The authorized persons include religious leaders, judges, and various other officials.
Obtaining a marriage license in California is a straightforward yet essential step for couples looking to formalize their union. Whether you choose a public or confidential license, understanding the requirements, fees, and other considerations will ensure a smooth process. Remember, marriage is a journey, and the marriage license is the first step towards a beautiful life together.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long is a marriage license valid in California? Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.
- Can witnesses sign both public and confidential marriage licenses? Witnesses can sign the public marriage license, but not the confidential one.
- How can I change my name after marriage? Getting a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. You’ll need a separate process for that.
- What is the process for obtaining a copy of the marriage license? To obtain a copy, you’ll need to request and pay for a certified copy from the County Clerk or Recorder.
- Who maintains birth, death, and marriage records in California? These records are maintained by the California Department of Public Health Vital Records.