Marriage License Requirements
Getting married is a joyous occasion, but before you tie the knot, there are important legal steps to take. One of these steps is obtaining a marriage license. In the state of California, there are two types of marriage licenses: the Public Marriage License and the Confidential Marriage License. Each type has its own set of requirements, benefits, and costs. In this guide, we’ll delve into the details of these licenses, their associated fees, and everything you need to know to make your union official.
Your journey towards marriage begins with obtaining a marriage license. This legal document grants you the authority to marry within the state of California. Whether you’re planning a grand wedding celebration or a private elopement, understanding the nuances of marriage licenses is essential.
Understanding Marriage Licenses
A marriage license is a legal document issued by the county clerk’s office that permits two individuals to marry. It signifies that you have met the state’s requirements for marriage and are eligible to enter into a legally recognized union.
Types of Marriage Licenses in California
Public Marriage License
The public marriage license is available for public viewing and access. This means that the personal information contained in the license can be accessed by anyone. However, it’s important to note that only parties directly involved or those with a court order can obtain a copy of this information.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, the confidential marriage license offers a higher level of privacy. It shields all personal information on the license from public view. To access this information, a notarized application or a court order is required. This type of license is ideal for those who value their privacy and wish to keep their marital details confidential.
To apply for a marriage license in California, certain requirements must be met:
Valid Photo I.D.
Both parties, known as Party A and Party B, must present a valid photo I.D. Examples of acceptable identification include a driver’s license, military I.D., passport, or green card.
Confidential Marriage License Eligibility
For a confidential marriage license, Party A and Party B must be living together as a married couple. The same identification requirements apply to this type of license as well.
The application process for a marriage license is straightforward. Both parties must visit the county clerk’s office together and fill out the necessary paperwork. Once the application is submitted, the marriage license will be issued immediately.
Waiting Period and Residency Requirement
Unlike some states, California has no waiting period. As soon as you submit your application, you will receive your marriage license on the spot. Additionally, you don’t need to be a resident of California to marry within the state.
Previous Marriages and Records
If either party has been previously married, you will need to provide information about the date and manner in which the previous marriage ended. Some counties may require documentation, such as the final judgment of dissolution or nullity.
Marriage License Fees
Obtaining a marriage license comes with a cost. The fees are as follows:
- Public License Fee: $50
- Confidential License Fee: $60
It’s important to note that payment is typically made in cash. For alternative payment methods, it’s advisable to contact the county clerk’s office beforehand.
The preferred payment method for marriage license fees is cash. However, it’s a good idea to check with your county clerk’s office for any additional payment options that may be available.
Proxy Marriages and Other Regulations
In California, proxy marriages are not allowed. Both parties, the marriage officiant, and any witnesses must be physically present in the same location for the marriage ceremony to be performed.
Several individuals are authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California. These include:
- A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination.
- A judge, commissioner, or retired judge of a court of record.
- Various judges or magistrates of the United States.
Return and Copies of Marriage License
The person solemnizing the marriage is responsible for returning the original marriage license to the county clerk’s office within ten days of the ceremony. If you require a certified copy of the marriage license, you must request and pay for it from the county clerk’s office.
Witnesses and Expiration Date
For public marriage licenses, one witness is required, and there is room for an additional witness if desired. Confidential marriage licenses do not require witnesses. Keep in mind that marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not marry within this timeframe, you will need to purchase a new license.
Obtaining a marriage license is a crucial step on your path to wedded bliss. Whether you opt for a public or confidential license, understanding the requirements and fees is essential for a smooth and legally sound union. So, take the time to navigate the process, gather the necessary documents, and embark on your marital journey with confidence.
1. Can I obtain 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 the state.
2. Are blood tests required for obtaining a marriage license in California? No, blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license in California.
3. Can I change my name on the marriage license? Getting a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name. You’ll need to follow the proper legal process for a name change.
4. Can first cousins marry in California? Yes, first cousins are legally allowed to marry in California.
5. How long is a marriage license valid in California? A marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you don’t marry within this period, you’ll need to get a new license.