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California Marriage Laws

California is very popular for destination wedding. The Sonoma and Napa Valley wine country is by far one of the favored spots in California for a destination wedding. One item that makes California popular is that unlike Texas Marriage laws there is no waiting period once you have received your marriage license. This makes planning your three day weekend wedding possible. But before you start looking at honeymoon packages, you might want to make sure you have all the legal requirements taken care of to receive a California marriage license.

California Marriage California Marriage License Requirements

Valid US ID

California Marriage License Requirements do require that the bride and the groom present a valid ID to the County Clerk’s Office while applying for a California marriage license. For a piece of identification to be valid it must have a picture, the date of birth, and a issue and an expiration date. Examples of a valid id are California issued ID card, driver’s license, passport, or a military ID. Depending on what California counties you are planning to wed in it might be required that you have a copy of both the bride and groom’s birth certificate.


There is no residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license.

Waiting Period

No waiting period is required in the state of CA. This is one fact that makes California such a popular wedding destination.

Length Marriage License is Valid

From the time the license is issued you have 90 days for the marriage license to be signed. If the 90 window is passed you must purchase a new license from the County Clerk’s Office.

Medical and Other Tests

There are no required medical tests.

Age Requirements

If either the groom or the bride is under 18 years of age then one of the minor’s legal guardians, or parents must go to the County Clerk’s office. Due to the age requirement a certified copy of a birth certificate is required for the underage bride or groom. California state law also requires that the couple meet with a counselor as well as the must appear before superior court judge.

Marriages by Proxy

Proxy marriages are only allowed for military personnel who are deployed far away with in a war or conflict. This situation allows for the military personal to give their power of attorney to someone else, which will allow for that person to stand for them during their wedding ceremony.

Previously Married

Most counties require a copy of the final judgment if the marriage was annulled. Regardless’ of how the marriage ended you will be required to know exact dates any previous marriage ended.

Fees and Taxes

All fees for a marriage license may vary by county, but the price starts at $45.00. Remember that as a rule most states require cash for the purchase of a marriage license.

Marrying a Cousin

California allows for the marrying of a cousin.

Premarital Counseling

Pre-marital counseling is only required for those marrying under the age of 18.

Common Law

The state of California does not provide for a Common Law marriage.

Same Sex Marriages

No. Same sex marriages are not allowed in California.

Wedding Officiants

Any member of the clergy may perform a wedding. Also, any judges retired or active, a US magistrate retired or active, as well as, any legislator who is currently in office.


Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any other information that might be useful. Also, please remember that marriage laws very from county to county, so make sure you contact the particular county you wish to marry in for exact details. Also make sure you ask if you have any questions because chances are the county clerk will only give you the very basics as far as requirements go. If you have any questions or concerns then you will have to ask some very direct question.

Obtaining a Copy of Marriage Certificate

You will not receive a marriage license copy until you request and purchase one from the County Clerk or County Recorder as office.

Topics: California | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “California Marriage Laws”

  1. Chris Says:
    June 28th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    California does allow same sex marriage as of june 17, 2008

  2. Connie confer Says:
    July 11th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Can you tell me if you have to get married in the same county you get your marriage license. we want the ceremony in another area of the state from where we live


  3. jack Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Same sex marriage is NOT allowed in California (as of 11/05/2008). Please correct your information.

  4. admin Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you Jack. I had forgotten to update that section after Prop 8.

    November 16th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Are you serious? What kind of sick state are we running here? I can marry my fucking cousin, but I can’t marry my boyfriend? I didn’t even know marrying family was an option. That’s discusting. And gays are supposed to be the nasty ones? We’re looked upon as wrong and unmoral and all of the other bull they try to call us, but two cousins don’t get looked at twice. “Grandma Rose” can raise her grandchildren all their lives in the same house and they can fuck then at 18 when one day they want to get married its ok? Woa, I’m appalled.