California Marriage License Laws and Requirements

Find out how to get married in CA

If you're getting married in the state of California you must first apply for a wedding license at any in-state county clerk office. These offices, some of which are referred to as the "marriage license bureau," are usually located in the county probate court or circuit court. This document outlines the requirements you must adhere to in order to get a valid marriage license that can be used statewide. Let's begin…

Cost of Your License

How much does a marriage license cost?

The marriage license fee is $50.00 to $80.00 dollars. Accepted forms of payment are cash.

Residency Requirement

Are there any special residency conditions for in-state or out-of-state residents?

There are none. You do not have to be a previous or current resident of California to obtain a marriage license that will be valid statewide.

Waiting Period

After I submit my application how long do I have to wait before I receive my marriage license?

There is no waiting period. You will receive your marriage license immediately after you submit your application.

Is there a waiting period from the moment the license is given to me to the date I'm allowed to actually marry?

No, you can get married immediately after your marriage license is issued.

License Expiration

How long will my marriage license remain valid once it's been issued?

Your license will expire 90 days from the date it is issued. Once it expires, it can no longer be used to get married.

What happens if my marriage license expires before I get a chance to use it?

Unfortunately, you'll just have to get a brand new one as your expired one will no longer be recognized as valid by the state nor by the person who will be responsible for officiating your marriage.

Age Requirement

How old must I be to get married?

You must be at least 18 years of age or older to marry without parental consent. A birth certificate may be necessary to show proof of age.

What if one or both of us is younger than 18?

If either partner is under 18, one parent or legal guardian must be present. If a parent can not be present, due to death, separation, divorce or other circumstances, proper evidence must be presented for verification. You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. The couple must schedule an appointment with a counselor and then appear before a superior court judge.

Blood Test

Are blood tests and physical exams required?

No blood test or physical exam is required.

Divorced or Widowed Applicants

What if one or both partners have been divorced or have had a spouse die?

If you were previously married, the date of your divorce or the date of your spouse's death must be provided. If the divorce or spouse's death had taken place within the last 90 days, bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate. If necessary, a copy of your divorce records or spouse's death certificate can be ordered from your local vital records office and mailed to you.

Marriage Name Change

How do I legally change my name before or after I get married?

When you are married, you will receive a marriage certificate, which is a piece of paper proving that you are legally married. This document will serve as evidence of your marriage, which you'll need to complete the process of notifying several government agencies about your name change, as well as any non-government institutions that you do business with (ie, banks, employers, credit cards, memberships, etc).

There is an online marriage name change kit that you can use and complete before or after your marriage takes place. It's applicable for California or any other state in the union. Completing all the necessary name change documentation prior to your wedding is recommended in order to expedite the name change process.

Proxy Marriage

What is a proxy marriage?

A proxy marriage, also known as a "proxy wedding," is when one or both partners to be married are unable to physically attend the ceremony. The missing person, or persons, will have someone "stand in" for them and serve as their "proxy."

Can I get married by proxy if I'm unable to to be present for the ceremony?

Yes. California is one of only five states that does allow marriage by proxy to be legally performed. Bill SB 7 was sponsored by Republican Sen. Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga and Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 10, 2004.

Common Law Marriage

What is a common law marriage?

The term "common law marriage" refers to an informal marriage, based upon cohabitation and a mutual understanding by both partners, rather than getting married through a civil or religious ceremony. The latter, more common approach, would require an actual California marriage license.

Is a common law marriage a legal option for me instead of undergoing a conventional marriage?

No, common-law marriages are not allowed in California. This is unsurprising as only one-fifth of the country currently recognizes common law marriage.

Cousin Marriage

Can I get married to my cousin?

Yes, cousin marriages (first, second, etc) are allowed to take place.

Same Sex Marriage

Are same sex marriages legal?

Yes, same-sex marriages are allowed and legally recognized in California.

Where to Go

Where do I physically need to go to get my marriage license?

California has 58 offices where a marriage license can be acquired. Simply choose a location below to visit. Phone numbers as well as map and accompanying driving direction links are provided for every address.

Alameda County Recorder

1106 Madison St
Oakland, CA 94607

510-444-1396

Alpine County Recorder

P.O. Box 266
Markleeville, CA 96120

530-694-2281

Amador County Recorder

108 Court St
Jackson, Ca, CA 95642

209-223-6469

Butte County Recorder

25 County Center Drive
Oroville, CA 95965

530-538-7691

Calaveras County Recorder

Government Center
San Andreas, CA 95249

209-754-6375

Colusa County Recorder

546 Jay St
Colusa, CA 95932

530-458-0500

Contra Costa , County Recorder

P.O. Box 350
Martinez, CA 94553

925-646-2360

Del Norte County Recorder

457 F St
Crescent City, CA 95531

707-464-7216

El Dorado County Recorder

360 Fair Lane
Placerville, CA 95667

530-621-5490

Fresno County Clerk

2221 Kern St
Fresno, CA 93721

559-488-3003

Glenn County Clerk

P.O. Box 391
Willows, CA 95988

530-934-6407

Humboldt County Recorder

825 5th St
Eureka, CA 95501

707-445-7593

Imperial County Recorder

P.O. Box 1560
El Centro, CA 92243

760-339-4427

Inyo County Records

P.O. Box F
Independence, CA 93526

760-878-0410

Kern County Clerk

1655 Chester Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301

805-868-3588

Kings County Clerk

1400 West Lacey Blvd.
Hanford, CA 93230

559-582-3211

Lake County Clerk

255 North Forbes St
Lakeport, CA 95453

707-263-2293

Lassen County Recorder

220 South Lassen St
Susanville, CA 96130

530-251-8217

Los Angeles County Registrar , Records/County Clerk

12400 East Imperial Hwy
2nd Floor, Room 2207

Norwalk, CA 90650

562-462-2137

Madera County Clerk

209 West Yosemite Ave
Madera, CA 93637

209-675-7724

Marin County Recorder

Civic Center, Room 290
San Rafael, CA 94903

415-499-6092

Mariposa County Recorder

P.O. Box 35
Mariposa, CA 95338

209-966-2007

Mendocino County Clerk

P.O. Box 148
Ukiah, CA 95482

707-463-4370

Merced County Recorder , Administration Building

2222 "M" St
Merced, CA 95340

209-385-7501

Modoc County Clerk

204 Court St, Suite 107
Alturas, CA 96101

530-233-2512

Mono County Recorder

P.O. Box 537
Bridgeport, CA 93517

760-932-5241

Monterey County

240 Church St,Rm 305
Salinas, CA 93901

831-647-7906

Napa County Clerk

P.O. Box 298
Napa, CA 94559

707-253-4246

Nevada County Clerk

950 Maidu Ave
Nevada City, CA 95959

530-265-1221

Orange County Recorder , County Recorder

P.O. Box 238
Santa Ana, CA 92702

714-834-2500

Placer County Clerk

11960 Heritage Oaks Place, #15
Auborn, CA 95604

530-889-7948

Plumas County Recorder

P.O. Box 10706
Quincy, CA 95971

530-283-6305

Riverside County Clerk

2724 Gateway Drive
Riverside, CA 92502

909-486-7000

Sacramento County Clerk

P.O. Box 839
Sacramento, CA 95812

916-874-5522

San Benito County Clerk

440 5th St, Room 206
Hollister, CA 95023

831-636-4029

San Bernardino County Recorder , Hall Of Records

222 West Hospitality Lane
San Bernardino, CA 92415

909-387-8314

San Diego County , Marriage Licenses

P.O. Box 121750
San Diego, CA 92112

619-237-0502

San Francisco County Recorders

City Hall, #167
San Francisco, CA 94102

415-554-4176

San Joaquin , County Clerk

P.O. Box 1968
Stockton, CA 95201

209-468-2362

San Luis Obispo County , Recording Dept
City Government Center

Room 102
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408

805-781-5088

San Mateo County Clerk

401 Marshall St, 6th Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063

650-363-4711

Santa Barbara County Clerk

P.O. Box 159
Santa Barbara, CA 93102

805-568-2250

Santa Clara County Recorder

70 West Hedding
San Jose, CA 95110

408-299-2481

Santa Cruz County Recorder

701 Ocean St, Rm 230
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

831-454-2800

Shasta County , Marriage License

Courthouse, Suite 102
Redding, CA 96001

530-225-5378

Sierra County Recorder , Courthouse Square

P.O. Box D
Downieville, CA 95936

530-289-3295

Siskiyou County Clerk

P.O. Box 8
Ureka, CA 96097

916-842-8084

Solano County Recorder

580 Texas St
Fairfield, CA 94533

707-421-6319

Sonoma County Clerk

P.O. Box 6124
Santa Rosa, CA 95406

707-527-3800

Stanislaus County , Clerk-Recorder

912 11th St
Modesto, CA 95354

209- 525-5265

Sutter County Recorder , Hall Of Records

466 2nd St
Yuba City, CA 95991

530-822-7120

Tehama County Recorder

633 Washington
Red Bluff, CA 96080

916-527-3350

Trinity County Recorder

101 Court St
Weaverville, CA 96093

916-623-1222

Tulare County , Marriage License

County Civic Center, Room 203
Visalia, CA 93291

559-733-6518

Tuolumne County Clerk

2 South Green St
Sonora, CA 95370

209-533-5570

Ventura County Recorder Office , Lower Plaza, Admin Bldg L#1210

800 South Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93009

805-654-2263

Yolo County Clerk

P.O. Box 1820
Woodland, CA 95695

530-666-8130

Yuba County , Marriage License

215 5th 4
Marysville, CA 95901

530-741-6341