Marriage License Requirements
Whether you’re planning a grand wedding or a simple vow renewal ceremony in California, understanding the difference between a public license fee and a confidential license fee is essential. Let’s dive into the details of these two types of marriage licenses and everything you need to know about obtaining them.
Planning a wedding involves numerous details, and one of the crucial aspects is obtaining a marriage license. California offers two main types of marriage licenses: the public marriage license and the confidential marriage license. Each type comes with its own set of rules and requirements.
Types of Marriage Licenses in California
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is available for public viewing. All personal information on this type of license is accessible to anyone. If you choose a public marriage license, your marriage information will not be confidential.
Confidential Marriage License
The confidential marriage license, on the other hand, ensures that all personal information remains protected from public view. Only spouses or individuals with a court order or notarized application can access the information on a confidential license.
Information Required for a Marriage License Application
To obtain a marriage license, you need to provide certain information:
- Valid Photo Identification: Both parties must bring a valid photo ID with birth date and signature. If unavailable, a certified copy of a birth certificate and another acceptable form of picture ID will suffice.
- Birth Name of Parents: Full first, middle, and last names of both parents, including the mother’s maiden name, need to be provided.
Obtaining Different Types of Marriage Licenses
Depending on your preference for confidentiality, you can choose between a public or confidential marriage license. Both licenses have the same requirements, but a confidential marriage license requires both parties to be living together as a married couple.
Requirements for Confidential Marriage License
A valid photo ID with birth date is required for a confidential marriage license. Party A and Party B must be living together as a married couple.
Marriage License Fees
The cost of a public marriage license is $72, while a confidential license comes at a fee of $77. Payments can be made in cash, preprinted checks, or money orders payable to the Shasta County Clerk. Debit or credit cards are not accepted.
Marriage Waiting Period and Residency Requirement
Unlike some states, California has no waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. Additionally, you do not need to be a California resident to marry in Shasta County.
Previous Marriages and Marriage Blood Test
If either party has been previously married, you’ll need to provide the month, day, and year the previous marriage ended. Blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license in California.
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. Common law marriages, however, are not recognized in California.
Changing Names and Age Requirements
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. If either party is under 18, a court order must be obtained before issuance of the license.
Authorized Marriage Officiants
Various individuals are authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California, including priests, ministers, judges, and legislators.
Returning the Marriage License
After the ceremony, the person officiating the marriage must return the original license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days.
Deputy for a Day Program
Shasta County Clerk’s office offers a Deputy for a Day program, allowing special individuals to perform wedding ceremonies.
After the Wedding
Following the ceremony, the Officiant must return the completed Public Marriage License to the Shasta County Recorder’s Office for recording.
Marriage Witnesses and Expiration Date of Marriage License
Witnesses are required for the public marriage license. Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from issuance. If the marriage doesn’t occur within this period, a new license must be purchased.
Navigating the process of obtaining a marriage license in California involves understanding the differences between a public and confidential license. Each type offers its own level of privacy and disclosure. By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in California?
- No, California does not have a waiting period.
- Can I change my last name through the marriage license?
- No, obtaining a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name.
- Are blood tests required to get a marriage license in California?
- No, blood tests are not required.
- Who can officiate a marriage ceremony in California?
- Authorized individuals include priests, ministers, judges, and legislators.
- How long is a marriage license valid?
- Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage does not occur within this period, a new license must be purchased.