Monterey County Marriage License Requirements

Monterey County
Marriage License Requirements

Are you planning to tie the knot in California? Whether you’re a resident or not, understanding the intricacies of marriage license fees and requirements is crucial to ensure a smooth and legally sound union. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover all the essential details you need to know before saying “I do.”


Getting married is a significant life event, and understanding the legal requirements associated with it is essential. California, known for its picturesque settings, offers a variety of options for couples seeking to exchange vows. However, before you start planning the wedding of your dreams, let’s delve into the intricacies of marriage licenses.

Types of Marriage Licenses in California

Public Marriage License

A public marriage license is available for public viewing. All the personal information on this type of license can be accessed by anyone. This license requires no court order or notarized application to obtain a copy of the information.

Confidential Marriage License

On the other hand, a confidential marriage license safeguards personal information from public view. Only a court order or a notarized application from either spouse can access the information. This type of license provides an extra layer of privacy for couples.

Essential Information for Marriage License Application

Identification Requirements

Before obtaining a marriage license, both individuals (First Person and Second Person) must appear together in person. A valid photo ID with birth date, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card, is required. If the ID doesn’t display the full legal name, a certified copy of the birth certificate is needed.

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Confidential Marriage License Eligibility

To acquire a confidential marriage license, party A and party B must be living together as a married couple. The same identification requirements apply.

Marriage License Application Process

Waiting Period

Unlike some states, California has no waiting period. You’ll receive your marriage license immediately after submitting your application.

Residency Requirement

You don’t need to be a California resident to marry in Monterey County. This flexibility makes California a popular choice for destination weddings.

Previous Marriages and Domestic Partnerships

Divorce Records

If either party has undergone a divorce within 90 days of applying for a new marriage license, a certified copy of the final divorce must be presented during issuance.

Registered Domestic Partnerships

If you have a Registered Domestic Partnership (RDP), dissolution isn’t mandatory before obtaining a marriage license, provided the parties are the same.

Marriage License Fees

The cost for a public marriage license is $76 (subject to change), while a confidential license is $80 (subject to change). Cash is the preferred payment method, and out-of-state checks are not accepted.

Special Marriage Situations

Proxy Marriages

Unfortunately, marriage by proxy is not permitted in California. Both parties, the marriage officiant, and any witnesses must be physically present during the ceremony.

Cousin Marriages

California allows first and second cousins to legally marry.

Common Law Marriages

Unlike some states, California does not recognize common law marriages.

Exemptions and Blood Tests

There’s no requirement for blood tests to obtain a marriage license in California.

Name Change After Marriage

Getting a marriage license with a new name doesn’t automatically change your name. An online marriage name change kit can help you with the process.

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Marriage Officiants

California Family Code authorizes various individuals to solemnize marriage ceremonies, including priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and more.

Marriage License Return

The person officiating the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or Recorder within 10 days of the ceremony.

Witnesses and Expiration

The public marriage license requires one or two witnesses’ signatures, while the confidential license doesn’t require any witnesses. Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the issuance date.


Navigating the world of marriage licenses in California might seem complex, but armed with this knowledge, you’re well-prepared to take the next step on your journey to marital bliss. Remember, each detail covered here ensures that your marriage is not only legally sound but also a joyous and stress-free occasion.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I get married immediately after receiving the marriage license? Yes, there’s no waiting period in California.
  2. Do I need to be a California resident to marry in the state? No, residency is not required.
  3. How much does a marriage license cost? A public license costs $76, and a confidential license costs $80 (subject to change).
  4. Can I change my name after marriage using the marriage license? No, a marriage license with a new name doesn’t automatically change your name. You’ll need to follow the proper legal process.
  5. How long is a marriage license valid for? A marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.

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