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How Do You Get Legally Married in California?

Couples in California who want to get legally married will need to know all the regulations for obtaining a marriage license.

So what are the requirements to get married in California? In order to get married in California, you must be 18 years old. Persons who are younger must have parental consent and a court order. There is no residency rules, blood test, or waiting period to get married in California. Marriage licenses cost $50 to $111 depending on what county you apply in.

For more information about how to legally get married in California, I’ve provided more details below.


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At What Age Can You Get Married in California?

Unlike other states, California law does not state a minimum age to get married. Persons under the age of 18 must have a court order and the consent of at least one parent from each party involved.

Here is the official wording:

(a) An unmarried person under 18 years of age may be issued a marriage license upon obtaining a court order granting permission to the underage person or persons to marry, in accordance with the requirements described in Section 304. (b) The court order and written consent of at least one of the parents or the guardian of each underage person shall be filed with the clerk of the court, and a certified copy of the order shall be presented to the county clerk at the time the marriage license is issued. source

What Documents Do You Need to Get Married in California?

Each county will have their own rules for the types of documentation they require to get married, however, here is a general idea of what you’ll be asked to provided.

In California, both parties who wish to be married must be present and bring vaild picture identification to the County Clerk’s Office in order to apply for a marriage license.

Valid picture identification includes documentation that a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date. This could be a state-issued identification card, drivers license, passport, military identification, etc. Additionally, some counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate.

If you’ve been married before, you may need to provide documentation proving divorcement, nullity, or death.

If you’re underage, you’ll need to have a court order and parental consent from one parent of each party.

How Much Does a Marriage License Cost in California?

The cost for a marriage license in the state of California ranges depending on what county you live in. The cost ranges from $50 to $111.

It’s also important to know that not all counties issue marriage licenses. However, you do not have to be a resident of the county in which your marriage license is issued in.

Here is the list of counties in California and the information I could find for how much marriage licenses cost. Also, I’ve linked to the county’s Probate Office so you can read more information about their requirements.

Please be sure to contact your county probate office beforehand to verify any information you see here as it’s difficult to keep up with any changes that may happen.

Can You Get Married At the Courthouse in California?

You can get married at some courthouses in California however, there could be some counties that are no longer allowing marriage ceremonies in the courthouse. You’ll need to call your local county probate office to find out what is allowed in your county.

Thankfully, if you wish to have a courthouse wedding in California, you can go to another county to be married. California does not have any residency restrictions and therefore you can get married in any county you please.

Is There a Waiting Period to Get Married in California?

You do not have to wait any period of time after recieving your marriage license to be married in California.

However, you only have 90-days from the time your license was issued to get married, so don’t wait too long

Who Can Marry You in California?

According to California Family Code, the following persons are permitted to officiate weddings in the state of California:

  1. A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner, or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.

  2. A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.

  3. A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.

  4. A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of the United States Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.

  5. A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.

  6. A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.

  7. A Member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a Member of Congress of the United States who represents a district within this state, or a former Member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a former Member of Congress of the United States who represented a district within this state.

  8. A person that holds or formerly held an elected office of a city, county, or city and county.

  9. A city clerk of a charter city or serving in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 36501 of the Government Code, while that person holds office.

In addition to the persons permitted to solemnize marriages in the list above, a county may license officials of a nonprofit religious institution, whose articles of incorporation are registered with the Secretary of State, to solemnize the marriages of persons who are affiliated with or are members of the religious institution. The licensee shall possess the degree of doctor of philosophy and must perform religious services or rites for the institution on a regular basis. The marriages shall be performed without fee to the parties.

Can You Legally Marry your Cousin in California?

The laws across the United States differ greatly regarding whether cousins can marry or not.

In California, it is permitted to marry your first cousin, second cousin, first-cousin-once-removed, half-cousin, and adopted cousin.

Additionally, same-sex marriage is legal in California.

How Long Do You Have to Be Together for Common Law Marriage in California?

A common law marriage is a marriage where the couple live together for usually a prolonged period of time so that their friends, family and the community believe them to be married. However, they never actually had a marriage ceremony or obtained a marriage license.

There is currently no common law marriages allowed in state of California, no matter how many years the couple has been together.

Disclosure: It is almost impossible for me to keep up with changing state and county marriage license requirements. The information provided in this article should be used for guidance only and not as legal advice. Please contact your local probate office for more information.

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Hi, I’m Kristin. While I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet, I’ve been dreaming of getting married for a long long time. I started this site as a place to record all the things I’ve found and researched in preparation for my own wedding someday. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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