Marriage License Requirements
Getting married is a significant life event, and one of the initial steps in this journey is obtaining a marriage license. In California, the process involves choosing between a public marriage license and a confidential marriage license. Each option has its own set of requirements, benefits, and fees. Let’s delve into the details to help you make an informed decision for your special day.
As you embark on the path to matrimony, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of marriage licenses in California. This comprehensive guide will provide clarity on various aspects related to marriage licenses, from the types of licenses available to the associated fees and requirements.
Types of Marriage Licenses
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is openly accessible for public viewing. All the details on this license are available for anyone to review. It’s the traditional option chosen by many couples.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license maintains the privacy of personal information. The information on this license is protected from public scrutiny. Only a court order or a notarized application by either spouse can grant access to this information.
Information Required for Marriage License Application
To apply for a marriage license, certain information and documentation are necessary:
- Valid Photo Identification: Both parties (Party A and Party B) must present a valid photo ID with their birth date, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card.
- Confidential Marriage License Requirements: If opting for a confidential marriage license, Party A and Party B must be cohabiting as a married couple.
Marriage License Application Process
California has no waiting period for receiving your marriage license. You’ll receive it immediately upon submitting your application.
You don’t need to be a California resident to obtain a marriage license in Siskiyou County.
Previous Marriages and Documentation
If either Party A or Party B has ended a previous marriage within the last 12 months, you’ll need to provide documentation verifying the date of the marriage’s conclusion.
Marriage License Fees
Obtaining a marriage license comes with fees. As of now, it costs $71 for a public license and $78 for a confidential license. Keep in mind that these fees are subject to change. Payment is generally accepted in cash or money order.
Proxy and Cousin Marriages
California does not allow marriages by proxy. All involved parties, including the officiant and witnesses if applicable, must be physically present during the ceremony.
Yes, first and second cousins can legally marry in California.
Common Law Marriages and Blood Tests
Common Law Marriages
Common law marriages are not recognized in California.
California does not require blood tests for obtaining 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 it. You can explore online marriage name change kits for assistance.
Marriage Age Requirements
For information about marriage licenses for individuals under the age of 18, you can contact the County Clerk’s Office.
Authorized Marriage Officiants
California Family Code designates various individuals authorized to officiate marriage ceremonies:
- Religious Officiants: Priests, ministers, or rabbis of any religious denomination.
- Judicial Officiants: Judges, retired judges, commissioners of civil marriages, and more.
- United States Officials: Various judges and magistrates of the United States.
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.
Witnesses and Expiration Date
For a public marriage license, one witness must sign, and there’s space for an additional witness. No more than two witnesses can sign. Confidential marriage licenses do not require witnesses.
Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from issuance. If not used within this period, you’ll need to purchase a new license. Public licenses are valid statewide, while confidential licenses are limited to the county of purchase.
Using Marriage Licenses Throughout California
Public marriage licenses can be used anywhere in California, while confidential licenses are restricted to the county of issuance.
Obtaining Marriage Records
The California Department of Public Health Vital Records maintains records of birth, death, fetal death, still birth, marriage, and divorce.
In conclusion, obtaining a marriage license involves careful consideration of the type of license, requirements, and fees. By understanding the options available and following the necessary steps, you can embark on your marital journey fully informed and prepared.
Q1: How much does a marriage license cost in California? A1: As of now, it costs $71 for a public license and $78 for a confidential license.
Q2: Can first cousins marry in California? A2: Yes, first and second cousins may legally marry in California.
Q3: Is a blood test required to obtain a marriage license? A3: No, blood tests are not required for obtaining a marriage license in California.
Q4: Can I use a confidential marriage license anywhere in California? A4: No, a confidential marriage license can only be used in the county where it was purchased.
Q5: How long is a marriage license valid for? A5: Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.