Marriage License Requirements
Are you and your partner ready to take the next step in your relationship and tie the knot in the beautiful state of California? Before you dive into wedding preparations, it’s important to understand the intricacies of marriage licenses in the Golden State. Whether you’re planning an extravagant ceremony or a private celebration, knowing the ins and outs of the marriage license process will ensure that your special day goes off without a hitch. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about public and confidential marriage licenses in California.
California, with its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, is a popular destination for couples looking to tie the knot. Whether you dream of a beachfront ceremony or a charming garden celebration, obtaining the right marriage license is the first step toward making your wedding day a reality.
Different Types of Marriage Licenses
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license in California is available for public viewing. This means that the personal information on the license can be accessed by anyone. If you’re comfortable with your information being publicly available, this type of license may suit your needs.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license safeguards all personal information from public view. Only a court order or a notarized application from either spouse can grant access to the information. This option is ideal for those who value privacy.
To obtain a marriage license in California, both parties need to present a valid photo I.D. This could be a driver’s license, military I.D., passport, or green card. In cases where these forms of I.D. are not available, a certified copy of the birth certificate along with another acceptable form of picture I.D. will suffice.
Marriage Waiting Period and Residency Requirement
Unlike some states, California does not have a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. As for residency, you do not need to be a California resident to marry in Stanislaus County or anywhere else within the state.
If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to know the specific date and circumstances of your last marriage’s end, whether it was due to 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
Obtaining a marriage license comes with a fee of $76, payable in cash. It’s advisable to check ahead for any additional payment methods that may be accepted.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages, where one party is absent during the ceremony, are not allowed in California. However, first and second cousins are legally permitted to marry in the state. Common law marriages, however, are not recognized.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
Unlike in some states, California does not require a blood test to obtain a marriage license. Additionally, obtaining a marriage license with your new name on it does not automatically change your name.
Marriage Age Requirement and Officiants
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present during the application process. The couple must schedule an appointment with a counselor and then appear before a superior court judge. As for who can officiate your wedding, authorized individuals include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, commissioners, and more.
Solemnizing Marriage Ceremonies
The individual officiating the marriage ceremony must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder within 10 days of the ceremony. This ensures that the marriage is legally registered.
Returning the Marriage License
It’s important to keep the information on the marriage license legible and accurate. Any changes, corrections, or cross-outs may require the issuance of a duplicate license.
Marriage Witnesses and Expiration Date
While a public marriage license can be signed by up to two witnesses, a confidential marriage license does not require any witnesses. Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage does not take place within this timeframe, a new license will need to be purchased.
As you embark on this exciting journey towards marital bliss, understanding the different aspects of obtaining a marriage license in California is crucial. Whether you opt for a public or confidential license, adhering to the requirements and guidelines will set the foundation for a smooth wedding experience. With the legalities in place, you can focus on celebrating your love and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I get a copy of my marriage license after the ceremony?
- No, you will not automatically receive a copy of your marriage license after the ceremony. If you need a certified copy, you’ll need to request and pay for it from the County Clerk or County Recorder.
- Is a blood test required to obtain a marriage license in California?
- No, California does not require a blood test for obtaining a marriage license.
- Who can officiate my wedding in California?
- Authorized individuals include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, commissioners, and more.
- Can I change my name through the marriage license?
- No, getting a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name. You’ll need to follow the appropriate legal procedures for a name change.
- What’s the difference between a public and a confidential marriage license?
- A public marriage license is available for public viewing, while a confidential license protects personal information from public access.