Marriage License Requirements
Getting married is a significant milestone in one’s life, and California offers various options for obtaining marriage licenses. If you’re considering tying the knot in the Golden State, it’s essential to understand the different types of licenses available and the associated fees. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of public and confidential marriage licenses, their requirements, fees, and other essential information.
California is known for its diverse landscapes and rich culture, making it a popular destination for weddings. Before you exchange your vows, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license. This document legalizes your union and ensures that your marriage is recognized by the state.
Types of Marriage Licenses in California
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is available for public viewing and provides general information about the married couple. It is ideal for those who want their marriage details to be accessible to the public. Anyone can request a copy of the information contained in a public marriage license.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license offers privacy by protecting personal information from public view. Only the spouses themselves or individuals with a court order or notarized application can access the information on a confidential license.
Required Information for Marriage License Application
To apply for a marriage license in California, you and your partner must provide valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card. If you don’t have any of these forms of ID, a certified copy of your birth certificate and another acceptable photo ID will suffice.
If you’re opting for a confidential marriage license, you and your partner must be living together as a married couple, and the same ID requirements apply.
Marriage Waiting Period
One advantage of getting married in California is that there is no waiting period. As soon as you submit your application, you’ll receive your marriage license immediately.
Marriage Residency Requirement
California is welcoming to couples from all over, and you don’t need to be a resident of the state to marry there.
Previous Marriages and Records
If you’ve been previously married, you’ll need to provide details about the end of your last marriage, including the specific date and reason (death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity). Some counties might require a copy of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended through dissolution or nullity.
Marriage License Fees in California
When it comes to the cost of marriage licenses in California, there are two options:
- Public Marriage License Fee: $66
- Confidential Marriage License Fee: $71
It’s important to note that the preferred payment method is cash, but you can inquire about alternative payment methods by calling ahead.
Unlike some states, California does not allow marriages by proxy. Both parties, along with the marriage officiant and any applicable witnesses, must be physically present at the same location for the ceremony to take place.
In California, first and second cousins are legally permitted to marry.
Common Law Marriages
Unlike some states, California does not recognize common law marriages.
Marriage Blood Test
Contrary to some other states, California does not require a blood test to obtain a marriage license.
Name Change After Marriage
If you decide to change your last name after marriage, obtaining a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. You may need to use an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirement
If either party is under 18 years of age, obtaining a marriage license requires written consent, counseling, and a Superior Court order.
California Family Code outlines the individuals authorized to officiate marriage ceremonies in the state. These include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and more.
Return of Marriage License
The person solemnizing the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days of the ceremony. Keep in mind that you won’t automatically receive a copy of your marriage license after the wedding.
A public marriage license requires the signature of at least one witness, with the option for an additional witness. Confidential marriage licenses do not require witnesses.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
Marriage licenses are 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. Both public and confidential licenses can be used throughout the state.
Navigating the process of obtaining a marriage license in California involves understanding the different license types, their associated fees, and specific requirements. Whether you opt for a public or confidential license, this crucial document sets the foundation for your marital journey. Remember that this article provides general information, and it’s advisable to consult official sources for the most accurate and up-to-date details.
- Can I get married immediately after obtaining the marriage license?
- Yes, there is no waiting period in California, and you can get married as soon as you receive your license.
- Are proxy marriages allowed in California?
- No, California does not allow marriages by proxy. All parties must be physically present for the ceremony.
- What is the cost of a public marriage license?
- The fee for a public marriage license is $66.
- Can I change my last name through the marriage license?
- No, obtaining a marriage license with a new name does not automatically change your name. You may need to follow a separate process for a name change.
- How long is a marriage license valid for in California?
- A marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.