Marriage License Requirements
When it comes to getting married in California, one of the essential aspects you need to consider is the marriage license fee. Whether you’re planning a grand wedding or a more intimate affair, understanding the costs involved is crucial. Let’s dive into the details of public and confidential marriage licenses, their requirements, and how the process works.
Planning a wedding involves numerous details, and obtaining a marriage license is a critical step in the process. California offers two types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. Understanding their differences and the associated fees is essential to ensure a smooth journey to your big day.
Understanding Marriage License Fees
Marriage license fees in California play a vital role in the marriage licensing process. These fees cover administrative costs and services provided by the county clerk’s office. It’s important to note that the fees are subject to change, so it’s recommended to check with your local county clerk’s office for the most up-to-date information.
Types of Marriage Licenses
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is accessible to the public for viewing. This means that the information on the license is available for anyone to see. It’s a common choice for many couples and offers transparency in the marriage process.
Confidential Marriage License
In contrast, a confidential marriage license protects personal information from public view. Only authorized individuals, such as the spouses themselves or those with a court order, can access the information on this type of license. This provides a level of privacy for couples who value discretion.
Information Required for Marriage License Application
To apply for a marriage license, both parties must provide valid photo identification. This can include a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If none of these are available, a certified copy of a birth certificate along with another acceptable form of photo ID can be used.
Getting a Confidential Marriage License
For couples seeking a confidential marriage license, both parties must be living together as a married couple. The same identification requirements apply as mentioned earlier. This option offers an extra layer of privacy for those who wish to keep their personal information confidential.
Marriage Waiting Period and Residency Requirement
Unlike some states, California does not have a waiting period. Once you submit your application, you’ll receive your marriage license immediately. Additionally, you don’t need to be a California resident to marry within the state.
Previous Marriages and Marriage License
If either party has been previously married, you’ll need to provide specific details about the previous marriage, including the date it ended and how it ended (divorce, dissolution, nullity, or death).
Marriage License Fees
The cost of a marriage license in California is $56, regardless of whether you choose a public or confidential license. It’s important to bring the exact amount in cash for payment. If you’re looking for alternative payment methods, consider contacting the county clerk’s office beforehand.
Proxy Marriages and Cousin Marriages
California does not permit proxy marriages, where one party is absent during the ceremony. However, first and second cousins are allowed to marry legally in the state.
Common Law Marriages and Blood Tests
Common law marriages are not recognized in California, and the state does not require blood tests to obtain a marriage license.
Changing Your Name After Marriage
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can explore online marriage name change kits.
Age Requirement for Marriage
If either partner is under 18, at least one parent or legal guardian must be present. If this is not possible due to specific circumstances, proper evidence must be provided for verification. This generally involves a certified copy of the birth certificate, and the couple may need to appear before a superior court judge.
Authorized Marriage Officiants
California allows various individuals to solemnize marriage ceremonies. These include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and even members of Congress representing the state. The person officiating the marriage is responsible for returning the original marriage license to the appropriate county office.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage does not take place within this period, a new license will need to be obtained. Both public and confidential licenses can be used throughout the state of California.
Obtaining a marriage license is a fundamental step on your journey to matrimony. Understanding the types of licenses, associated fees, and requirements will help you navigate this process with ease. Whether you opt for a public or confidential license, California provides options that cater to your preferences. As you embark on this exciting chapter of your life, remember to follow the guidelines provided by your local county clerk’s office to ensure a smooth and joyous celebration of your love.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a marriage license cost in California?
The cost of a marriage license in California is $56, regardless of whether you choose a public or confidential license.
What is the difference between a public and a confidential marriage license?
A public marriage license is available for public viewing, while a confidential marriage license protects personal information from public access.
Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in California?
No, there is no waiting period in California. You’ll receive your marriage license immediately after submitting your application.
Can cousins marry in California?
Yes, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry in California.
How long is a marriage license valid in California?
A marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage doesn’t take place within this period, a new license must be obtained.