Marriage License Requirements
Planning a wedding involves numerous decisions, and obtaining the right marriage license is a crucial step in the process. In California, couples have the option to choose between a public marriage license and a confidential marriage license. Understanding the differences and requirements of these licenses is essential to ensure your wedding day goes off without a hitch.
When it comes to marriage licenses in California, there are two primary options available: public marriage licenses and confidential marriage licenses. Each type has its own set of regulations and advantages, catering to different preferences and circumstances. Let’s delve into the details of both.
Types of Marriage Licenses
Public Marriage License
A public marriage license is accessible to the public for viewing. This means that the personal information contained in the license is not confidential and can be accessed by anyone. It’s a suitable choice for those who don’t mind sharing their marriage details.
Confidential Marriage License
On the other hand, a confidential marriage license ensures that the personal information on the license is protected from public view. This type of license requires a court order or a notarized application by either spouse to obtain a copy of the information. It’s a great option for couples who value privacy.
Public Marriage License Requirements
To obtain a public marriage license in California, both parties must be at least 18 years old and present in person at the designated office. Authentic photo identification is required for verification purposes.
Confidential Marriage License Requirements
For a confidential marriage license, both individuals need to be 18 years or older and must apply together in person. Authentic photo identification is mandatory, and an oath affirming that they have been living together is also required.
Father’s and Mother’s Details
Applicants need to provide details about their fathers’ full birth names and states or foreign countries of birth, as well as their mothers’ full birth (maiden) names and corresponding birthplaces.
Previous Marriage Details
If applicable, information about an individual’s previous marriage, including how it ended and the date of marriage termination, must be furnished. Recent divorces require a certified copy of the divorce decree for verification.
Name Equality Act of 2007
Both license types require individuals to specify the name they will take after the ceremony. The Name Equality Act of 2007 provides guidelines for name changes after marriage.
A valid photo I.D. is essential for the application process. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license, military I.D., passport, or green card.
Waiting Period and Residency
There is no waiting period in California, meaning you’ll receive your marriage license immediately after submitting your application. Residency in California is not a prerequisite for marrying in Yolo County.
Divorce and Previous Marriages
For recent divorces within six months, a certified copy of the divorce decree is required for verification. This ensures that the previous marriage has been legally dissolved.
Marriage License Fees
The cost of a public marriage license is $98, while a confidential license comes with a fee of $109. Cash is the preferred method of payment, and alternative payment options should be confirmed in advance.
Marriage by proxy is not allowed in California. Both parties, the officiant, and any witnesses must be physically present for the marriage to be performed.
First and second cousins are legally permitted to marry in California.
Common Law Marriages
California does not recognize common law marriages.
Marriage Blood Test
Unlike some states, California does not require a blood test to obtain a marriage license.
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name. Online marriage name change kits are available for this purpose.
If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. If that’s not possible due to specific circumstances, proper evidence must be presented, and a counselor’s appointment and court appearance are necessary.
Authorized Marriage Officiants
Various individuals are authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California, including priests, ministers, judges, and legislators. They must return the original marriage license to the appropriate county office within 10 days of the ceremony.
Witnesses and Expiration
Public marriage licenses require the signature of one or two witnesses, while confidential licenses don’t need witness signatures. 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 purchased.
Navigating the process of obtaining a marriage license in California involves understanding the differences between public and confidential licenses, meeting specific requirements, and adhering to legal regulations. By choosing the right type of license and providing accurate information, couples can ensure a smooth journey to their wedding day.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I change the information on my marriage license? No, altering the information on the license requires a duplicate license issuance.
- What’s the cost of a confidential marriage license? The fee for a confidential marriage license is $109.
- Are blood tests necessary for obtaining a marriage license? No, blood tests are not required in California.
- How long is the waiting period for a marriage license? There is no waiting period; you’ll receive your license immediately.
- Can I marry my cousin in California? Yes, California allows first and second cousins to legally marry.