If you have chosen to get married in the Sunny West Coast of California, then here is what you need to know in a nutshell from the State of California’s government office. You can review the 8 page document in full length in this link. Otherwise you can always review the requirements on the State of California website.
Image courtesy of www.theknot.com
Now for the highlights:
- You do not need to be a California resident to marry in California.
- To marry in California, the two parties to the marriage may not be already married.
- Marriage by proxy is NOT allowed in California. Family Code, Section 420(a) requires the two parties, marriage officiant, and witness if applicable, be physically present together in the same location for the marriage to be performed.
- Blood tests are NOT required to obtain a marriage license in California.
- Both parties must appear in person and bring valid picture identification to the County Clerk’s Office to apply for a marriage license in California. Valid picture identification is one that contains a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date, such as a state issued identification card, driver’s license, passport, military identification, etc. Some counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate. If you have been married or in a State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP), you will need to know the specific date your last marriage or SRDP ended, and how it ended (Death, Dissolution, Divorce or Nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the final judgment if your previous marriage or SRDP ended by dissolution or nullity. An SRDP need not be dissolved prior to the issuance of a marriage license if the parties to the SRDP and the parties to the marriage are same.
- Marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within 90 days, the license will no longer be valid. You must purchase a new license.
TYPES OF MARRIAGE LICENSES IN CALIFORNIA
There are two types of marriage licenses commonly issued in California. The public marriage license and confidential marriage license. In addition to the general requirements listed above, there are additional requirements for each of the licenses listed below.
PUBLIC MARRIAGE LICENSE:
- You must be at least 18 years old. Persons under 18 with written consent from at least one parent (or legal guardian) AND permission from a California Superior Court Judge may marry. Emancipated minors are NOT exempt from this process. Contact the County Clerk’s Office in your county for further information regarding these requirements.
- The marriage license may be obtained from any county in California. You are not required to get married in the county where you purchase the public marriage license; however, you must be married in California. You must file the license in the county where it was purchased.
- You must have at least one witness present at your ceremony. The license contains a place for two witnesses if you prefer. You may NOT have more than two witnesses sign the official marriage license. Licenses received with more than two witnesses’ signatures will be returned to the officiant and a duplicate marriage license will need to be purchased.
- There is no age requirement in California for witnesses; however, they must be old enough to know that they are witnessing a marriage ceremony AND be able to sign their name on the official marriage license.
- The marriage license is registered at the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the license was purchased, and is a public record. Anyone may request copies of the marriage certificate by submitting the required fee to the County Recorder. You may access an application to request a certified copy of a marriage certificate at the following link: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/CertifiedCopiesofMarriag eandDivorceRecords.aspx
- Only one officiant may sign the marriage license as the person who solemnized the marriage.
CONFIDENTIAL MARRIAGE LICENSE:
- The two parties to the marriage must be at least 18 years old to apply for a confidential marriage license. Minors may NOT purchase a confidential marriage license.
- The couple must be living together as spouses at the time they apply for the marriage license, and must sign an affidavit on the license attesting to that fact.
- The marriage license may be obtained from any county in California. You are not required to get married in the county where you purchase the confidential marriage license; however, you must be married in California. You must file the license in the county where it was purchased.
- No witnesses are required to be at the ceremony, AND no witnesses sign on the marriage license.
- The marriage license is a confidential record and is registered at the County Clerk’s Office in the county where it was purchased. Only the couple may purchase copies of the marriage certificate and must present valid picture identification together with the required fee to the County Clerk in order to do so. Persons other than the parties to the marriage requesting copies of a confidential marriage certificate may only do so by presenting a court order to the County Clerk in the county where the license is registered.
- Copies of confidential marriages are not available from the state office.
If you are ready to get married and need some help with your California wedding, do not hesitate to give us a call. We would do a West Coast wedding in sunny California any time!
Wendy is a Toronto WEDDING PLANNER whose specialty is “East marries West” weddings in the Greater Toronto Area, New York area, Vancouver area, Los Angeles area, Southern California and in the beautiful destination of Bali, Indonesia.
Whether you need wedding planning assistance or wedding day coordination, Wendy can help you design your most memorable wedding day. CONTACT HER today, she’d love to hear from you.