Marriage License Requirements
If you’re planning to tie the knot in California, there are important aspects of marriage licenses you need to be aware of. Whether you’re seeking a public or confidential marriage license, the fees, requirements, and application process can vary. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about obtaining a marriage license in the Golden State.
California, renowned for its scenic beauty and cultural diversity, is also a popular destination for weddings. Before you say “I do,” it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of obtaining a marriage license. This article provides a comprehensive guide to public and confidential marriage licenses in California.
Types of Marriage Licenses
In California, there are two primary types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. A public marriage license is accessible for public viewing, while a confidential marriage license safeguards personal information from public scrutiny.
To apply for a marriage license, certain prerequisites must be met. Both individuals must be at least 18 years old and unmarried. Additionally, they need to bring valid photo identification with their birth dates, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, or green card.
Confidential Marriage License
A confidential marriage license is a unique option available to couples who are already living together as a married couple. This type of license is not accessible for public viewing, and only the couple or a court order can obtain a copy of the information.
Marriage License Application Process
Fortunately, there’s no waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in California. The license is issued immediately upon application submission. Moreover, you don’t need to be a California resident to marry in the state, making it an ideal location for destination weddings.
Previous Marriages and Documentation
If either party has been married within the past five years, copies of final decrees or death certificates must be provided. This requirement ensures that previous marriages have been legally dissolved.
Marriage License Fee
The cost of obtaining a marriage license is $65 for a public license and $83 for a confidential license. It’s advisable to have cash on hand for payment, although alternative payment methods may be available.
While proxy marriages are not allowed in California, the state does permit first and second cousins to legally marry. However, common law marriages are not recognized.
Name Change After Marriage
Although your new name can be included on the marriage license, this doesn’t automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirement
If either partner is under 18, consent from parents and a court order are necessary. The applicable authorities can provide more information about the required paperwork.
Authorized Marriage Officiants
Authorized individuals who can solemnize marriage ceremonies in California include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and more. It’s essential to ensure that the person conducting the ceremony is authorized.
Return of Marriage License
Following the ceremony, the officiant must return the original marriage license to the appropriate county office within 10 days. While you won’t receive a copy of the license, you can request a certified copy for an additional fee.
The public marriage license requires one witness’s signature, with an option for a second witness. However, witnesses cannot sign on a confidential marriage license.
Expiration of Marriage License
Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage doesn’t take place within this timeframe, a new license must be obtained.
Navigating the intricacies of marriage licenses in California is crucial for couples planning to wed. Whether you opt for a public or confidential license, understanding the application process, fees, and requirements ensures a smooth journey towards marital bliss.
- Can I change my name after getting married with the marriage license?
- While your new name can be included on the license, it doesn’t automatically change your name. You can use a marriage name change kit to facilitate the process.
- What is the cost of a confidential marriage license in California?
- The fee for a confidential marriage license is $83, subject to change.
- Can proxy marriages be performed in California?
- Proxy marriages are not allowed in California. Both parties and the officiant must be physically present during the ceremony.
- Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in California?
- No, there is no waiting period. The marriage license is issued immediately after the application is submitted.
- Who can solemnize marriage ceremonies in California?
- Authorized individuals include priests, ministers, rabbis, judges, and various other officials specified by California law.