Marriage License Requirements
California is known for its picturesque landscapes, cultural diversity, and vibrant cities, making it a popular destination for weddings. If you’re planning to tie the knot in the Golden State, understanding the intricacies of marriage licenses is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the various types of marriage licenses, their requirements, and everything you need to know before saying “I do.”
California offers couples a range of options when it comes to obtaining a marriage license. Whether you prefer a more private ceremony or wish to celebrate with a public declaration of your love, the state has you covered.
Types of Marriage Licenses in California
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is available for public viewing and can be obtained by anyone. All the details on the license are accessible to the public. If you’re planning a traditional wedding and want your marriage to be a part of public record, this license is suitable for you.
Confidential Marriage License
In contrast, a confidential marriage license keeps personal information protected from public view. This type of license requires a court order or notarized application by either spouse to access the information. If you value your privacy, a confidential marriage license might be the right choice.
To apply for a marriage license, both parties must present valid photo identification that includes their birth date. This could be a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If none of these are available, a certified copy of the birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture ID can be used.
For a confidential marriage license, the couple must be living together as a married couple at the time of application.
Marriage License Fees
Obtaining a marriage license comes with a fee. A public marriage license costs $60, while a confidential license costs $65. It’s recommended to bring cash for payment, though other methods might be accepted depending on the county.
Waiting Period and Residency Requirements
Unlike some states, California doesn’t have a waiting period for receiving your marriage license. Once you’ve applied, you’ll receive the license immediately.
Non-California residents can also marry in Mariposa County, making it a popular choice for destination weddings.
Previous Marriages and Verification
If either party has been previously married or in a terminated State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP) within the last 90 days, a copy of the final dissolution must be presented for verification.
Proxy Marriages and Cousin Marriages
Proxy marriages, where one party isn’t physically present, are not allowed in California. Additionally, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry.
Common Law Marriages and Blood Tests
Common law marriages are not recognized in California, and blood tests are not required for obtaining a marriage license.
Name Change After Marriage
Getting a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirements and Officiants
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. California allows various officials to solemnize marriage ceremonies, including religious leaders, judges, and legislators.
Marriage Witnesses and Expiration Date
A public marriage license requires the signature of one witness, with a provision for an additional witness. The license is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage doesn’t take place within this time frame, a new license must be purchased.
Recording and Obtaining Copies
After the ceremony, the completed marriage license must be returned to the appropriate county office. A certified copy of the Marriage Certificate serves as the official legal document for changing names or applying for benefits.
obtaining a marriage license in California involves a straightforward process, with options for public or confidential licenses. Regardless of your preferences, the state offers flexibility to make your special day truly memorable.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can non-California residents marry in Mariposa County? Yes, Mariposa County allows non-residents to marry.
- Is a blood test necessary for obtaining a marriage license? No, blood tests are not required in California.
- Can cousins marry in California? Yes, first and second cousins can legally marry.
- What is the role of marriage witnesses? Witnesses are required for public marriage licenses, with provisions for signatures.
- How long is a marriage license valid? Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from issuance. If unused, a new license must be obtained.