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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013
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Under California marriage laws, a valid marriage license is required to get married in California. The details for obtaining a marriage license are described below. Also, California marriage laws place requirements on minors to obtain parental consent and possibly counseling before getting married.
California Marriage Consent Laws
- With Parental Consent: Individuals under 18 years of age must have at least one parent or legal guardian appear with the couple. The minor should also provide a certified copy of their birth certificate. The couple may also be required to see a counselor and appear before a California Superior Court judge.
- Without Parental Consent: Individuals 18 and older may marry in California without parental consent.
California Common Law Marriage
California does not recognize common law marriages.
California Marriage License
- Residency: Individuals do not have to reside in California.
- Identification Required: Both parties must appear in person with valid picture identification including date of birth and an expiration date, such as a state driver’s license. It’s also a good idea to bring a copy of your birth certificate, as well as information such as your parents’ names, maiden names, and their places of birth.
- Tests: None.
- Appearance/Proxy: Proxy marriages are not allowed in California.
- Previous Marriages: Individuals must provide the dates that previous marriages were dissolved (i.e. the date of divorce, or the date of the former spouse’s death). A certified divorce decree may be required for recent divorces, depending on the county.
- Length of License: California marriage licenses are valid for 90 days.
- Civil Marriage Ceremonies: Many California counties perform civil marriage ceremonies. Contact that county clerk’s office in your county for more information.
- Fees: The fee for a California marriage license is generally $40, with some variances depending on the county. Also, some counties may only accept cash.
- Filling Out the License/Submitting the License: All information on the marriage license must be legible and reproducible. Cross-outs and white-outs will render the license invalid and you will have to pay for a duplicate to be issued.
- Copies: Couples will not receive a copy of their marriage license unless expressly requesting a certified copy from the county clerk or county recorder’s office. Fees may apply.
- Authorized California Officiants: California marriages may be “solemnized” by a number of different parties, including a priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination, any judge, or any retired judge.