Modoc County Marriage License Requirements

Modoc County
Marriage License Requirements

If you’re planning to tie the knot in the picturesque landscapes of Modoc County, California, you’ll need to navigate through the process of obtaining a marriage license. Whether you’re a local resident or coming from afar to celebrate your love, understanding the requirements and procedures for obtaining a public marriage license is essential. In this article, we’ll walk you through all the details you need to know to make your journey to marital bliss as smooth as possible.


Congratulations on your decision to embark on the journey of marriage! Before you say “I do,” there are a few legal steps you’ll need to take to ensure your union is recognized. In Modoc County, California, obtaining a marriage license is an important part of the process.

Marriage License Basics

Different Types of Marriage Licenses in California

In California, there are two main types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. A public marriage license is available for public viewing, while a confidential marriage license keeps personal information protected from public access.

Information Required on a Marriage License Application

When applying for a marriage license, certain information is required for both parties. This includes a valid driver’s license or DMV issued Identification Card. If these are unavailable, a certified copy of your birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture identification can be used.

Obtaining a Marriage License

Applying for a Marriage License in Modoc County

To obtain a marriage license in Modoc County, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with the Modoc County Clerk & Recorder’s office. Contact them at 530-233-6205 to set up your appointment. They will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

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Confidential vs. Public Marriage License

Choosing between a confidential and a public marriage license depends on your preference for privacy. A confidential license protects personal information from public access, while a public license is available for anyone to view.

Marriage License Requirements

Identification and Age Requirements

Both parties must have a valid photo identification with their birth date, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card.

Waiting Period and Residency

Unlike some states, California does not have a waiting period before you can get married once you have your license. Additionally, you do not need to be a California resident to marry in Modoc County.

Previous Marriages: Divorce, Death, or Annulment

If you’ve been previously married, you’ll need to provide proof of divorce, death, or annulment. A copy of your final divorce decree is required if you’ve divorced within the past year.

Marriage License Application Process

The Modoc County Clerk & Recorder’s Office

The Modoc County Clerk & Recorder’s office handles the issuance of marriage licenses. By appointment only, you can visit their office at 108 E. Modoc Street, Alturas, CA 96101, Room 107.

Marriage License Fee and Payment Methods

The fee for a marriage license in Modoc County is $60. Payment is preferably made in cash, but other methods may be available upon inquiry.

Proxy Marriages and Cousin Marriages

Proxy marriages, where one party is absent and represented by someone else, are not allowed in California. However, cousin marriages are permitted.

Common Law Marriages and Blood Tests

Common law marriages are not recognized in California, and blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license in Modoc County.

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Marriage Officiants in California

Who Can Solemnize Marriage Ceremonies?

Marriage ceremonies in California can be solemnized by a variety of individuals, including priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and more. The full list of authorized individuals can be found in California Family Code, Section 400.

Returning the Marriage License

After your ceremony, the person officiating the marriage must return the original license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days.

Additional Considerations

Legibility and Accuracy of Information

It’s crucial to ensure all information on the marriage license is legible, accurate, and without any alterations. Changes to the license may require a duplicate and additional fees.

Witnesses and Expiration Date

Public marriage licenses require the signature of one witness, and sometimes an additional witness. These licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.


Obtaining a marriage license is an important step on your journey to wedded bliss. Modoc County, California, provides options for both public and confidential licenses, allowing you to choose the level of privacy you prefer. By following the guidelines and requirements outlined in this article, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on the next chapter of your life together.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I apply for a marriage license online?
    • Currently, marriage license applications must be made in person at the Modoc County Clerk & Recorder’s office.
  2. Is a blood test required to obtain a marriage license?
    • No, blood tests are not required for marriage license applications in Modoc County.
  3. What should I do if I need to change my last name after marriage?
    • Changing your last name requires a separate legal process. An online marriage name change kit can assist you with this.
  4. How long is a marriage license valid?
    • A marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you don’t get married within this period, you’ll need to purchase a new license.
  5. Can I use a California marriage license for a destination wedding?
    • Yes, both public and confidential marriage licenses obtained in California can be used for weddings throughout the state.

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