Marriage License Requirements
If you’re planning to tie the knot in the beautiful state of California, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of marriage license fees. Whether you’re opting for a public or confidential marriage license, knowing the costs and requirements can make your wedding planning process smoother. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through all the essential information you need to obtain a California marriage license, from the types of licenses available to the necessary documents and fees.
Your wedding day is a memorable occasion, and obtaining a marriage license is a crucial step to make it official. California offers two types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. Each comes with its own set of requirements and benefits, ensuring you have the flexibility to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Types of Marriage Licenses
When it comes to marriage licenses in California, you have two options to consider: public and confidential.
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is accessible for public viewing. It contains personal information that can be accessed by anyone. This type of license is ideal if you don’t require the privacy that a confidential license offers.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license offers a higher level of privacy. All personal information on this type of license is protected from public view. This means that only a court order or a notarized application by either spouse can obtain a copy of the information.
Marriage License Application Process
Applying for a Marriage License
Before you can say “I do,” you’ll need to apply for a marriage license. The process is relatively straightforward, but there are a few key steps to keep in mind:
- Both partners must be present to apply for the license.
- Valid photo identification is required for both individuals. This can include a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card.
- It’s recommended to arrive no later than 4:15 p.m. to ensure your marriage license is issued by 5 p.m.
Photo Identification Requirements
To obtain a marriage license, you’ll need to provide a valid photo ID. If you don’t have a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card, you can submit a certified copy of your birth certificate along with another acceptable form of picture identification.
Confidential Marriage License
If you and your partner are living together as a married couple, you may be eligible for a confidential marriage license. The same photo ID requirements apply.
Marriage License Waiting Period and Residency Requirements
No Waiting Period
Unlike some states, California does not have a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive your marriage license immediately.
You do not need to be a California resident to marry in Mendocino County. This makes California an attractive destination for couples looking to have a destination wedding.
If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to provide specific information about your previous marriage. This includes the date your last marriage ended and the circumstances under which it ended, whether by death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity.
Marriage License Fees
Obtaining a marriage license comes with a cost. As of the most recent update, the fees are as follows:
- Public Marriage License: $85
- Confidential Marriage License: $87
It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, so it’s a good idea to verify the current costs before applying.
The preferred method of payment is cash. If you’re considering alternative payment methods, it’s advisable to contact the relevant authorities ahead of time.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Marriage by proxy is not allowed in California. Both parties, the marriage officiant, and any witnesses must be physically present at the same location for the marriage to be performed.
In California, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry.
Common Law Marriages
Unlike some states, California does not recognize common law marriages.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
Blood Test Requirements
California does not require couples to undergo a blood test to obtain a marriage license.
Name Change After Marriage
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name on it doesn’t automatically change your name. If you’re looking to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirement and Officiants
Marriage Age Requirement
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present during the application process. If a parent cannot be present due to specific circumstances, proper evidence must be provided for verification.
Authorized Marriage Officiants
Several individuals are authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California. These include:
- Priests, ministers, or rabbis of any religious denomination.
- Judges, including retired judges, commissioners of civil marriages, and assistant commissioners of a court of record.
- Legislators, constitutional officers of the state, and members of Congress representing a district within the state.
Returning the Marriage License
The person officiating the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days of the ceremony.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you don’t marry within this period, you’ll need to purchase a new license. Both public and confidential marriage licenses can be used throughout the state of California.
Your wedding day is a celebration of love and commitment, and obtaining a marriage license is a fundamental step in the process. Whether you opt for a public or confidential license, understanding the requirements and fees ensures that your marriage is legally recognized in the beautiful state of California.
Can I apply for a marriage license if I’m not a California resident?
Yes, you do not need to be a California resident to obtain a marriage license in Mendocino County.
How much does a confidential marriage license cost?
The cost of a confidential marriage license is $87.
Can I have a proxy marriage in California?
No, proxy marriages are not allowed in California.
Is a blood test required to obtain a marriage license?
No, California does not require couples to undergo a blood test.
How long is a marriage license valid in California?
Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not marry within this period, you will need to purchase a new license.