Marriage License Requirements
California is a diverse and vibrant state, known not only for its stunning landscapes but also for its rich cultural heritage. If you’re planning a wedding or vow renewal ceremony in California, understanding the process of obtaining a marriage license is essential. Whether you’re a resident or an out-of-state couple, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the necessary steps, requirements, and important details to ensure a smooth and memorable experience.
California, with its picturesque settings and diverse communities, is a sought-after destination for couples looking to tie the knot. Before you say “I do,” it’s important to understand the process of obtaining a marriage license, which is a crucial legal requirement for a valid marriage.
Types of Marriage Licenses in California
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is available for public viewing and is accessible to anyone interested. This type of license contains all the standard information about the couple, including their names, dates of birth, and other relevant details.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license offers privacy protection. The personal information on this type of license is not available for public view. Only a court order or a notarized application by either spouse can obtain a copy of the information.
Required Information for Marriage License Application
To complete the application for a marriage license in California, both parties (First Person and Second Person) must provide valid photo identification. If a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card is unavailable, a certified copy of the birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture ID are required.
Application Process and Waiting Period
One of the advantages of getting married in California is the absence of a waiting period. Upon submitting your application, you will receive your marriage license immediately. This means you can proceed with your wedding plans without delay.
Marriage Officiants in California
California offers a variety of authorized individuals who can solemnize marriage ceremonies. These include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, commissioners, and more. It’s essential to choose an officiant who is legally permitted to conduct your wedding ceremony.
Marriage License Fees and Payment Options
The cost for a marriage license in California is $80, payable by cash. Other methods of payment may be available; it’s recommended to contact the appropriate office for guidance.
Special Cases and Considerations
Marriage of Minors
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present during the application process. In certain circumstances, proper evidence must be provided for verification, and an appointment with a counselor and a superior court judge is required.
Yes, first and second cousins may legally marry in California.
Common Law Marriages
California does not recognize common law marriages as legally valid.
Name Change and Marriage License
While obtaining a marriage license with your new name is possible, it does not automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
Witnesses and Signatures
For a public marriage license, one witness is required to sign the document, with the option for an additional witness. However, witnesses cannot sign on a confidential marriage license.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
Marriage licenses in California are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you don’t get married within this period, you’ll need to purchase a new license.
Congratulations! You’ve taken a significant step toward your dream wedding in California by learning about the marriage license process. Whether you’re seeking a public or confidential license, this guide has provided you with the essential information to make informed decisions.
Q1: Can I obtain a marriage license if I’m not a California resident? A: Yes, you do not need to be a California resident to marry in Del Norte County.
Q2: Are blood tests required for a marriage license in California? A: No, blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license.
Q3: How long does it take to receive a certified copy of my marriage license? A: You can request and pay for a certified copy from the County Clerk or County Recorder, but you will not automatically receive one after marriage.
Q4: Can cousins marry in California? A: Yes, first and second cousins may legally marry in California.
Q5: What is the validity period of a marriage license in California? A: Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.