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Getting married in California

IMPORTANT NOTE: Marriage laws and license requirements change continually, so please check the latest information with your local marriage license bureau office or county clerk's office before making your wedding or travel plans, and before inviting your guests.

ALL information on the marriage license MUST be legible, unambiguous and reproducible. DO NOT change any information on the license, cross out information, use white out, etc., as that will require the payment for and issuance of a duplicate marriage license. Contact the County Clerk’s Office if you have questions about completing the marriage license and/or incorrect information contained on the marriage license.

To marry in California, the two parties to the marriage may not be already married.

Marriage by proxy is NOT allowed in California. The two parties, marriage officiant, and witness if applicable, must be physically present together in the same location for the marriage to be performed.

Who may apply for a marriage license

You do not need to be a California resident to marry in California.

Cousin marriages are permitted in California.

Types of marriage license 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.

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 couple MUST be married in the county where the license is issued.

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 marriage certificates are not available from the state office.

ID requirements

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.

Previous marriages

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 RDP need not be dissolved prior to the issuance of a marriage license if the parties to the RDP and the parties to the marriage are identical.

Blood tests and other tests

No blood tests or medical examinations are required.

Marriage ceremonies and witnesses

Many County Clerks in California perform civil marriage ceremonies in their offices. For further information regarding civil marriage ceremonies, please contact the County Clerk’s Office directly to see if they provide this service.

For public marriages, 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. Only one officiant may sign the marriage license as the person who solemnized the marriage.

For confidential marriage licenses, no witnesses are required to be at the ceremony, AND no witnesses sign on the marriage license.

Officiants

A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination, a judge, a justice of the peace, a magistrate, a legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while that person holds office.

Fees

All fees for a marriage license vary by county in California. Please contact the County Clerk/Recorder’s Office directly to find out this information.

Waiting period

There is no waiting period in California.

Validity of license

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.

Copy of marriage certificate

The person solemnizing the marriage must return the original marriage license to the County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable within 10 days of the date of the ceremony. Addresses are on the county recorder site. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/CountyRecorderOffice.aspx

You will NOT receive a copy of your marriage license after you have been married unless you request and pay for a certified copy from the County Clerk or County Recorder as applicable. 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/CountyRecorderOffice.aspx

For more information

Find out more from the California Department of Public Health
http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/MarriageLicenseceremonygeneralinfo.aspx

Here is a list of County Recorders in California:

Patrick O’Connell
Alameda County Recorder
1106 Madison Street, Room 214
Oakland, CA 94607
Web Site: www.acgov.org
Email: Vitalrec@acgov.org
Office: (510) 272-6362
FAX: (510) 208-9957  
Gregory J. Diaz
Nevada County Recorder
950 Maidu Avenue
Nevada City, CA 95959-6100
Web Site: www.mynevadacounty.com/recorder
Office (530) 265-1221
FAX (530) 265-9842 
Ms. Carol McElroy
Alpine County Recorder
County Administration Building
99 Water Street
Mail to: P.O. Box 217
Markleeville, CA 96120-0217
Office (530) 694-2286
FAX (530) 694-2491  
Thomas Daly
Orange County Clerk/Recorder
12 Civic Center Plaza, Room 101
Santa Ana, CA 92701 OR
P. O. Box 238
Santa Ana, CA 92702-0238
Website: www.ocrecorder.com 
Mr. Sheldon Johnson
Amador County Recorder
810 Court Street
Jackson, CA 95642
Web Site: www.co.amador.ca.us
Office (209) 223-6468
FAX (209) 223-6204  
Pasadena, City of
County Recorder
Dean C. Logan
Los Angeles County Recorder
12400 East Imperial Highway
Room 1002
Norwalk, CA 90650
Mail to: P. O. Box 53120
Los Angeles, CA 90053-0120
Web Site: www.lavote.net
Email: recorder@rrcc.co.la.ca.us
Recording (562) 462-2137 or Personal (562) 462-2103
FAX (562) 3726  

Janet M. Berreman, M.D., M.P.H, Health Officer
City of Berkeley
Department of Health and Human Services
and Local Registrar of Births and Deaths
1947 Center St., 1st Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
Office (510) 981-5320
FAX (510) 981-5315
Certified copies of initial events must
be obtained from the City of Berkeley
Vital Statistics Office

Jim McCauley
Placer County Recorder
2954 Richardson Drive
Auburn, CA 95603
Web Site: www.placer.ca.gov
Email: clerk@placer.ca.gov
Office (530) 886-5600  
Candace Grubbs
Butte County Recorder
25 County Center Drive, Suite 105
Administration Bldg.
Oroville, CA 95965
Web Site: http://clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net
Email: clerk@buttecounty.net
Office (530) 538-7690 and 91
FAX (530) 538-7975 
Kathy Williams
Plumas County Recorder
520 Main Street, Room 102
Quincy, CA 95971
Web Site: www.countyofplumas.com
Email: clerkrecorder@countyofplumas.com
Office (530) 283-6218
FAX (530) 283-6155  
Karen Varni
Calaveras County Recorder
Government Center
891 Mountain Ranch Road
San Andreas, CA 95249
Web Site: www.co.calaveras.ca.us
Email: lorr@co.calaveras.ca.us
Email: jgodfrey@co.calaveras.ca.us
Office (209) 754-6372
FAX (209) 754-6733  
Larry W. Ward
Riverside County Recorder
2724 Gateway Drive
Riverside, CA 92507
OR P.O. Box 751
Riverside, CA 92502-0751
Web Site: www.riversideacr.com
Office (951) 486-7000  
Kathleen Moran
Colusa County Recorder
546 Jay Street, Suite 200
Colusa, CA 95932
Web Site: www.colusacountyclerk.com
Office (530) 458-0500
FAX (530) 458-0512  
Craig Kramer
Sacramento County Recorder
600 Eighth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
OR P.O. Box 839
Sacramento, CA 95812-0839
Web Site: www.ccr.saccounty.net
Email: sacrec@saccounty.net/
Office (916) 874-6334  
Stephen Weir
Contra Costa County Recorder
555 Escobar Street
Martinez, CA 94553
Web Site: www.cccounty.us
Office (925) 335-7900  
Joe Paul Gonzalez
San Benito County Recorder
County Courthouse
440 Fifth Street, Room 206
Hollister, CA 95023-3896
Web Site: www.sbcvote.us
Office (831) 636-4029
FAX (831) 636-2939  
Alissia Northrup
Del Norte County Recorder
981 H Street, Suite 160
Crescent City, CA 95531
Web Site: http://www.co.del-norte.ca.us
E-mail:clerkrecorder@co.del-norte.ca.us
FAX: (707) 465-0321  
Larry Walker
San Bernardino County Recorder
222 West Hospitality Lane, First Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0022
Web Site: www.sbcounty.gov/acr/
Tel.(909) 386-9095  
William E. Schultz
El Dorado County Recorder
360 Fair Lane
Placerville, CA 95667
Web Site: www.co.el-dorado.ca.us
Email: recorderclerk@co.el-dorado.ca.us
Office (530) 621-5490
FAX (530) 621-2147  
David L. Butler
San Diego County Recorder
1600 Pacific Highway, Room 260
San Diego, CA 92101
Mail to: P.O. Box 12150
San Diego, CA 92112-4750
Web Site: www.sdarcc.com
Office (619) 237-0502  
Robert C. Werner
Fresno County Recorder
2281 Tulare Street, Room 303
Fresno, CA 93721
Mail to: P.O. Box 766
Fresno, CA 93712
Web Site: www.fresnorecorder.org
Office (559) 488-3476
FAX (559) 488-6841  
Phil Y. Ting
San Francisco County Recorder
Office of Vital Records
101 Grove Street, Room 105
San Francisco, CA 94102
Web Site: www.sfdph.org
Office (415) 701-2311
General Info (415) 554-2700  
Sheryl Thur
Glenn County Recorder
Courthouse
526 West Sycamore Street
Willows, CA 95988
Web Site: www.countyofglenn.net
Email: gcboard@glenncounty.net
Office (530) 934-6412
FAX (530) 934-6305  
Kenneth Blakemore
San Joaquin County Recorder
44 N. San Joaquin Street, Suite 260
Stockton, CA 95202
Mail to: P.O. Box 1968
Stockton, CA 95201-1968
Web Site: www.sjgov.org
Office (209) 468-8075
FAX (209) 468-2901  
Carolyn Crnich
Humboldt County Recorder
825 Fifth Street, Fifth Floor
Eureka, CA 95501
Web Site: www.co.humboldt.ca.us
Office (707) 445-7382
FAX (707) 445-7430  
Julie L. Rodewald
San Luis Obispo County Recorder
1055 Monterey Street, D120
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
Web Site: www.slocounty.ca.gov/clerk
Email: dgraton@co.slo.ca.us
Office (805) 781-5080
FAX (805 781-1111  
Dolores Provencio
Imperial County Recorder
940 West Main Street, Room 206
El Centro, CA 92243
Web Site: www.imperialcounty.net
Office (760) 482-4272
FAX (760) 482-4271  
Warren Slocum
San Mateo County Recorder
555 County Center, 1st Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665
Web Site: www.co.sanmateo.ca.us
Email: countyclerk@care.co.sanmateo.ca.us
Email: recorder@care.co.sanmateo.ca.us
Office (650) 363-4500
FAX (650) 363-1903  
Mary A. Roper
Inyo County Recorder
Courthouse
168 N. Edwards Street
Independence, CA 93526
Mail to: P. O. Box Drawer F
Independence, CA 93526
Web Site: http://countyofinyo.org/Recorder/Clerk-Recorder.html
Office (760) 878-0222  
Joseph Holland
Santa Barbara County Recorder
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Mail to: P. O. Box 159
Santa Barbara, CA 93102-0159
Web Site: www.sbcrecorder.com
Office (805) 568-2250
FAX (805) 568-2266  
James W. Fitch
Kern County Recorder
1655 Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Web Site: www.recorder.co.kern.ca.us
Email: kcrecorder@co.kern.ca.us
Office (661) 868-6449  
Regina Alcomendras
Santa Clara County Recorder
County Government Center
East Wing, First Floor
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Web Site www.clerkrecorder.org
Office (408) 299-5664 (General)
Office (408) 299-5669 (Recording)
FAX (408) 280-1768  
Ken Baird
Kings County Recorder
Government Center
1400 West Lacey Boulevard
Hanford, CA 93230
Web Site: www.countyofkings.com
General Info (559) 582-3211 ext. 2470 
Regina Alcomendras
Santa Clara County Recorder
County Government Center
East Wing, First Floor
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Web Site www.clerkrecorder.org
Office (408) 299-5664 (General)
Office (408) 299-5669 (Recording)
FAX (408) 280-1768  
Douglas W. Wacker
Lake County Recorder
Courthouse
255 North Forbes Street
Lakeport, CA 95453
Web Site: www.co.lake.ca.us
Email: Recorder@co.lake.ca.us
Office (707) 263-2293
FAX (707) 263-3703  
Gary Hazelton
Santa Cruz County Recorder
701 Ocean Street, Room 230
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Web Site: http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us
Office (831) 454-3222
FAX (831) 454-3169  
Julie Bustamante
Lassen County Recorder
220 S. Lassen Street, Suite 5
Susanville, CA 96130
Web Site: http://www.lassencounty.org
Email: lcclerk@co.lassen.ca.us
Office (530) 251-8234
FAX (530) 257-3480  
Leslie Morgan
Shasta County Recorder
1450 Court Street, Suite 208
Redding, CA 96001-1679
Web Site: www.co.shasta.ca.us
OVR - (530) 225-5678
FAX (530) 225-5152  
Helene Calvet, M.D., Health Officer
City of Long Beach
Department of Health and Human Services and
Local Registrar of Births and Deaths
2525 Grand Avenue, #201
Long Beach, CA 90815
Web Site: www.longbeach.gov
Office (562) 570-4305
FAX (562) 570-4374
Note: The City of Long Beach only maintains records
for one year from the date of event. All other
records need to be obtained from the
Los Angeles County Recorder's office.
Heather Foster
Sierra County Recorder
P.O. Drawer D
Downieville, CA 95936
Web Site: www.sierracounty.ws
Email: clerk-recorder@sierracounty.ws
Office (530) 289-3295
FAX (530) 289-2830  
Dean C. Logan
Los Angeles County Recorder
12400 East Imperial Highway
Room 1002
Norwalk, CA 90650
Mail to: P. O. Box 53120
Los Angeles, CA 90053-0120
Web Site: www.lavote.net
Email: recorder@rrcc.co.la.ca.us
Recording (562) 462-2137 or Person (562) 462-2103
FAX (562) 807-3726  
Mike Mallory
Siskiyou County Recorder
311 Fourth Street
Room 108
Yreka, CA 96098
Web Site: www.co.siskiyou.ca.us
Email: cbaker@co.siskiyou.ca.us
Office (530) 842-8065, 8066
FAX (530) 842-8077  
Rebecca Martinez
Madera County Recorder
County Government Center
200 West 4th Street
Madera, CA 93637
Web Site: www.madera-county.com
Email: countyclerkinfo@madera-county.com
Office (559) 675-7724
FAX (559) 675-7870  
Marc Tonnesen
Solano County Recorder
675 Texas Street, Suite 2700
Fairfield, CA 94533
Web Site: www.solanocounty.com
Office (707) 784-6294
FAX (707) 784-9002  
Florence Shimano
Marin County Recorder
3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 232
San Rafael, CA 94903
Web Site: www.co.marin.ca.us
Email: recorder@co.marin.ca.us
Office (415) 499-6092
FAX (415) 499-7893  
Janice Atkinson
Sonoma County Recorder
2300 County Center Drive, Suite B-177
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 OR
Mail to: P. O. Box 1709
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Web Site: www.sonoma-county.org/clerk
Office (707) 565-2645
FAX (707) 565-3957  
Becky Crafts
Mariposa County Recorder
Hall of Records Building
4982 Tenth Street
Mail to: P.O. Box 35
Mariposa, CA 95338-0035
Web Site: www.mariposacounty.org
Office (209) 966-5719  
Lee Lundrigan
Stanislaus County Recorder
1021 I Street, Suite 101
Modesto, CA 95354
OR P.O. Box 1670
Modesto, CA 95353
Web Site: www.co.stanislaus.ca.us
Office (209) 525-5251
FAX (209) 525-5804  
Susan M. Ranochak
Mendocino County Recorder
501 Low Gap Road, No.1020
Ukiah, CA 95482
Web Site: www.co.mendocino.ca.us
Office (707) 463-4376
FAX (707) 463-4257  
Donna M. Johnston
Sutter County Recorder
433 Second Street
Yuba City, CA 95991
Web Site: www.co.sutter.ca.us
Office (530) 822-7134
FAX (530) 822-7214  
Kent B. Christensen
Merced County Recorder
2222 M Street
Merced, CA 95340
Web Site: www.co.merced.ca.us
Office (209) 385-7627
FAX (209) 385-7626  
Beverly Ross
Tehama County Recorder
633 Washington Street, Room 11
OR P.O. Box 250
Red Bluff, CA 96080
Web Site: www.co.tehama.ca.us
office (530) 527-3350
FAX (530) 527-1745  
Ms. Alice Marrs
Modoc County Recorder
204 South Court Street, Room 107
Alturas, CA 96101-4020
Office (530) 233-6205
FAX (530) 233-6666  
Deanna L. Bradford
Trinity County Recorder
11 Court Street
Mail to: P.O. Box 1215
Weaverville, CA 96093
Web Site: www.trinitycounty.org
Email: recorder@trinitycounty.org
Office (530) 623-1215
FAX (530) 623-8398  
Ms. Lynda Roberts
Mono County Recorder
74 North School St., Annex 1
Mail to: P.O. Box 237
Bridgeport, CA 93517-0237
Web Site: www.monocounty.ca.gov
Office (760) 932-5535
FAX (760) 932-5531  
Gregory Hardcastle
Tulare County Recorder
County Civic Center
221 S. Mooney Blvd., Room 103
Visalia, CA 93291-4593
Web Site: www.co.tulare.ca.us
Office (559) 636-5050
FAX (559) 740-4329  
Stephen L. Vaginini
Monterey County Recorder
168 West Alisal Street, First Floor
Salinas, CA 93901
Mail to: P.O. Box 29
Salinas, CA 93902-0029
Web Site: www.co.monterey.ca.us/recorder
Email: recorderclerk@co.monterey.ca.us
Office (831) 755-5041
FAX (831) 755-5064  
Ken Caetano
Tuolumne County Recorder
2 South Green Street
Sonora, CA 95370
Website: www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov
Office (209) 533-5531
FAX (209) 533-6543
John Tuteur
Napa County Recorder
900 Coombs Street, Room 116
Mail to: P.O. Box 298
Napa, CA 94559-0298
Web Site: www.countyofnapa.org
Office (707) 253-4246
FAX (707) 259-8149  
James B. Becker
Ventura County Recorder
Hall of Administration, Main Plaza
800 South Victoria Avenue, LN 1260
Ventura, CA 93009
Web Site: http://recorder.countyofventura.org
Email: county.recorder@ventura.org
Office (805) 654-3666
Recording (805) 654-2295
Freddie Oakley
Yolo County Recorder
625 Court Street, Room B01
Woodland, CA 95695
Mail to: P. O. Box 1130
Woodland, CA 95776-1130
Web Site: www.yolorecorder.org
Email: cntyclrk@yolorecorder.org
Office (530) 666-8130
FAX (530) 666-8109
Terry A. Hansen
Yuba County Recorder
915 Eighth Street, Suite 107
Marysville, CA 95901
Web Site: www.yuba.org
Office (530) 749-7851
FAX (530) 749-7854 

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