Marriage License Requirements
Marriage is a sacred union that brings two people together, and in California, obtaining a marriage license is the first step towards legally binding your love story. With the Golden State offering two distinct types of marriage licenses – Public and Confidential – couples have the flexibility to choose the one that best suits their preferences and needs. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of these marriage license options, their requirements, and shed light on other essential aspects to consider.
Types of Marriage Licenses in California
Public Marriage License
A “public” California marriage license is a document accessible for public viewing. It includes personal information of the marrying parties. This type of license is suitable for couples who have no qualms about their marriage information being publicly available.
Confidential Marriage License
In contrast, a “confidential” marriage license safeguards all personal details on the license from public scrutiny. Only a court order or a notarized application from either spouse can grant access to this information. This type is ideal for couples seeking privacy and discretion.
Required Information for Marriage License Application
To acquire a marriage license, couples must provide valid photo identification. This can be a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. In case these are unavailable, a certified copy of the birth certificate and another acceptable picture ID can be used.
Process of Obtaining a Marriage License
Upon submitting the application, there is no waiting period; you’ll receive your marriage license immediately. This license can be obtained in the county where you plan to marry, regardless of your residency.
Marriage License Fees
The cost of a marriage license in California is $50 for a public license and $65 for a confidential license. It’s recommended to bring cash for payment.
Marriage by Proxy and Other Legal Considerations
Marriage by proxy is not allowed in California. Additionally, first and second cousins can legally marry in the state, but common law marriages are not recognized.
Age Requirements and Consent
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. If this isn’t possible, proper evidence must be presented for verification. Both parties must appear before a superior court judge following a counseling appointment.
Authorized Marriage Officiants
Marriage ceremonies in California can be solemnized by various individuals, including religious officials, judges, and retired judges. It’s essential to return the original marriage license within 10 days after the ceremony.
Witness Signatures and Expiration Dates
The public marriage license requires one witness’s signature, while the confidential license does not need any. Both types of licenses are valid for 90 days from issuance.
Obtaining a marriage license is a significant step in the journey towards marital bliss. California offers couples the choice between a public and a confidential license, ensuring that their personal preferences are respected. Remember that while the process may have certain legal aspects to consider, the love and commitment you share with your partner are what truly matter.
Q1: Can I change my last name on the marriage license? A: No, getting a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. To change your last name, you’ll need to use an online marriage name change kit.
Q2: How long is a marriage license valid? A: Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the issuance date. If not used within this timeframe, a new license must be purchased.
Q3: Can cousins marry in California? A: Yes, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry in California.
Q4: Who can solemnize a marriage ceremony in California? A: Authorized individuals include religious officials, judges, and certain other legal figures outlined in the California Family Code.
Q5: Can I access California vital records online? A: Yes, California birth, death, fetal death, still birth, marriage, and divorce records are maintained by the California Department of Public Health Vital Records and can be accessed online.