Marriage License Requirements
When it comes to tying the knot in California, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is obtaining a marriage license. However, California offers two distinct types of marriage licenses: the public marriage license and the confidential marriage license. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the differences, requirements, and important details associated with each type of license.
The Two Types of Marriage Licenses in California
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is precisely what its name suggests – a license that’s available for public viewing. This means that anyone can access the personal information contained in the marriage license. However, there are specific circumstances under which individuals can obtain copies of the information – either through a court order or a notarized application from either spouse.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license offers a higher level of privacy. With this type of license, all personal information on the marriage license is protected from public view. The only individuals who can access this information are the spouses themselves, a court order, or a notarized application from either party.
Requirements for Marriage License Application
Both parties applying for a marriage license need to appear together at the County Clerk / Recorder’s office. They must present valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or green card. In the case that either party lacks these forms of identification, a certified copy of their birth certificate along with another acceptable form of picture ID is required.
Confidential Marriage License
For those opting for a confidential marriage license, there’s an additional requirement. Party A and party B must be living together as a married couple. The same identification requirements mentioned earlier apply to this type of license as well.
Costs and Fees
Initial Marriage License
The cost of obtaining a marriage license varies depending on the type you choose. For a public marriage license, the fee is $78, and for a confidential marriage license, it’s $80. The preferred method of payment is cash, although other payment methods might be available.
Certified Copies and Amendments
Obtaining a certified copy of a confidential marriage license costs $15. There are no fees for amendments within the first year, but after that, there’s a $20 fee which includes the certified copy. Declarations for a marriage license incur a fee of $58.
Application and Waiting Period
To apply for a marriage license, you can use the online application, which you’ll need to fill out, print, and bring to the County Clerk / Recorder’s office. Both parties need to appear in person.
Unlike some states, California doesn’t have a waiting period. Once you submit your application, you’ll receive your marriage license immediately.
Additional Marriage License Information
You do not need to be a California resident to get married in Humboldt County.
If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to provide information about your last marriage, including the date it ended and how it ended (death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity).
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages are not allowed in California. However, first and second cousins can legally marry, and there is no provision for common law marriages in the state.
Blood Tests and Name Change
Blood tests are not required for a marriage license in California. If you wish to change your last name, a marriage name change kit is available online.
Marriage Age Requirement
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. The couple may need to schedule an appointment with a counselor and appear before a superior court judge.
The persons authorized to officiate marriage ceremonies in California include religious leaders, judges, magistrates, and certain political figures.
Marriage Witnesses and Expiration
A public marriage license requires the signature of one witness, with the option for an additional witness. Confidential marriage licenses do not require witnesses’ signatures.
Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage doesn’t take place within this period, a new license must be purchased.
Navigating the world of marriage licenses in California might seem complex, but understanding the key differences between public and confidential licenses can make the process much smoother. Whether you’re seeking a marriage with added privacy or opting for a more open approach, California offers options that suit every couple’s needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Can anyone access the personal information in a confidential marriage license? A: No, only the spouses, court orders, or notarized applications from either party can access this information.
- Q: How much does it cost to obtain a certified copy of a confidential marriage license? A: The cost for a certified copy of a confidential marriage license is $15.
- Q: Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in California? A: No, California does not have a waiting period. The license is issued immediately upon application.
- Q: Can first cousins marry in California? A: Yes, first cousins are legally allowed to marry in California.
- Q: How long is a marriage license valid in California? A: Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If not used within this period, a new license must be obtained.