Marriage License Requirements
Are wedding bells ringing in your future? If you’re planning to tie the knot in the beautiful state of California, it’s important to be well-informed about the marriage license process, fees, and requirements. From the sunny beaches of San Diego to the iconic landmarks of San Francisco, California offers a stunning backdrop for your special day. To help make your journey to marital bliss a smooth one, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on obtaining a marriage license in the Golden State.
Walking down the aisle is a momentous occasion, and obtaining a marriage license is the first step towards wedded bliss. California offers two main types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. Each comes with its own set of rules and benefits, ensuring that your wedding plans align with your personal preferences.
Types of Marriage Licenses in California
In California, couples have the option of choosing between a public marriage license and a confidential marriage license. A public marriage license is accessible for public viewing, while a confidential marriage license keeps personal information protected from the public eye. Only a court order or a notarized application by either spouse can grant access to the information on a confidential marriage license.
Information Required for Marriage License Application
Before a marriage license can be issued, both parties must provide valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If these forms of ID are not available, a certified copy of the birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture ID will suffice.
Obtaining a Confidential Marriage License
If you and your partner are already living together as a married couple, you may qualify for a confidential marriage license. The same ID requirements mentioned earlier apply to this type of license.
Marriage Waiting Period and Residency Requirement
Unlike some states, California has no waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. Once you submit your application, you’ll receive your license immediately. Additionally, California residency is not a requirement for marrying in the state.
Previous Marriages: What You Need to Know
If you’ve been married before, it’s important to know the specific date and circumstances of your previous marriage’s end. This includes information on whether it ended due to death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity. Some counties may require documentation of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended through dissolution or nullity.
Marriage License Fees
Obtaining a marriage license does come with a fee. A public marriage license costs $87, while a confidential marriage license is priced at $100. It’s advisable to bring cash for payment, although some counties may accept alternative methods of payment.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages, cousin marriages, and common law marriages are subject to specific regulations in California. Proxy marriages, where one party is absent during the ceremony, are not allowed. However, first and second cousins are legally permitted to marry in the state, while common law marriages are not recognized.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
Unlike some states, California does not require a blood test to obtain a marriage license. Additionally, getting a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name; you’ll need to follow the appropriate legal steps for a name change.
Marriage Age Requirement and Officiants
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present to grant permission. California has a range of authorized officiants, including religious leaders, judges, and magistrates, who can solemnize marriage ceremonies.
Returning the Marriage License and Witnesses
After your ceremony, the person officiating the marriage is responsible for returning the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days. Witnesses are also an essential part of the process, with different rules for public and confidential marriage licenses.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
It’s important to note that marriage licenses in California are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you don’t marry within this timeframe, you’ll need to obtain a new license.
Using Your Marriage Certificate
Your marriage certificate is a vital document that proves your marital status. It can be used for various legal purposes, including changing your name on official documents and records.
Your journey to becoming a legally wedded couple in California involves several important steps, from choosing the right type of marriage license to ensuring you have the necessary documents and meeting the requirements. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a lifetime of love and happiness together.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a waiting period to obtain a marriage license in California?
No, there is no waiting period to obtain a marriage license in California. Once you submit your application, you will receive your marriage license immediately.
2. Can I marry my first cousin in California?
Yes, first cousins are legally allowed to marry in California.
3. Do I need a blood test to get a marriage license in California?
No, a blood test is not required to obtain a marriage license in California.
4. How much does a marriage license cost?
The cost of a marriage license in California varies depending on the type. A public marriage license costs $87, while a confidential marriage license is priced at $100.
5. What is the expiration date of a marriage license in California?
Marriage licenses in California are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within this 90-day period, you will need to purchase a new license.