Marriage License Requirements
Getting married is a wonderful and exciting step in anyone’s life. California offers two types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. Each comes with its own features, benefits, and costs. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of these licenses, their fees, and the requirements for obtaining them. Whether you’re planning a grand wedding or a private ceremony, understanding these options will help you make the right choice for your special day.
Getting married in California is a memorable event, and it all begins with obtaining a marriage license. It’s important to know the differences between a public marriage license and a confidential marriage license, as well as the associated fees and requirements.
Types of Marriage Licenses
California offers 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 view.
Requirements for Marriage License Application
Before a marriage license can be issued, both parties, referred to as First Person and Second Person, must bring valid photo identification. This can include a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If these forms of identification are not available, a certified copy of the birth certificate along with another acceptable form of photo ID will suffice.
Confidential Marriage License
For a confidential marriage license, both parties (Party A and Party B) must be living together as a married couple. The same identification requirements apply as with the public license.
Marriage Waiting Period and Residency Requirements
Unlike some states, California does not have a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. As for residency requirements, you do not need to be a California resident to marry in Nevada County.
Dealing with Previous Marriages
If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to provide specific details about your previous marriage, including the date it ended and how it ended (Death, Dissolution, Divorce, or Nullity). Some counties might require documentation of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended through dissolution or nullity.
Marriage License Fees
The cost of a public marriage license in California is $72, while a confidential marriage license is priced at $74. It’s advisable to have cash on hand for payment, but it’s a good idea to check for alternative methods of payment in advance.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
California does not allow proxy marriages, but it does permit first and second cousins to legally marry. However, common law marriages are not recognized in the state.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
Unlike in some states, California does not require a blood test to obtain a marriage license. Additionally, getting a marriage license with your new name on it doesn’t automatically change your name.
Marriage Age Requirement and Officiants
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. The officiants authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California include religious leaders, judges, magistrates, and more.
Returning the Marriage License
After the ceremony, the person solemnizing the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days. You won’t receive a copy of the license unless you request and pay for a certified copy.
A public marriage license requires one witness’s signature, with an option for an additional witness. Confidential marriage licenses do not require witness signatures.
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, the license becomes invalid, requiring the purchase of a new one.
Obtaining a Copy of the Marriage Certificate
To obtain a copy of your marriage certificate, you can contact the California Department of Public Health Vital Records.
Choosing the right type of marriage license for your California wedding is an important decision. Whether you opt for a public marriage license or a confidential one, understanding the requirements, fees, and procedures will help ensure a smooth and memorable wedding day.
- Can I get 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 Nevada County.
- What are the fees for a public and confidential marriage license? The fee for a public marriage license is $72, while a confidential marriage license costs $74.
- Can I change my name on the marriage license? Getting a marriage license with your new name on it does not automatically change your name. You need to follow the proper procedures for a legal name change.
- Are proxy marriages allowed in California? No, California does not allow proxy marriages.
- How long is a marriage license valid? Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within this period, you will need to purchase a new license.