Marriage Law California

Marriages in California are governed by the California Family Code.
Marriage as defined in the Code is
  1. a personal relation
  2. arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman,
  3. consent of the parties capable of making that contract must be present
  4. must be followed by the issuance of a license and solemnization.
Marriages in California can be either open marriage before the county clerk or confidential marriage before a marriage solemnizing authority.
  1. Man and woman are eligible to get married if they are of 18 years of age or if not they must have the consent from their parents in written and must have obtain the court's order granting permission to the underage persons to marry.
  2. The applicant to the marriage must be of sound mind
  3. Applicants must be unmarried or a divorcee.
  1. The parties shall not be married at the time of the marriage
  2. If married then:
    1. a. he/she must have taken a decree of divorce or,
    2. the person getting married has not heard about the other spouse for more than 5 years
  3. either party shall be able to give free consent to their marriage
  4. shall not be of unsound mind.
  5. the persons wishing to marry must not be parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, or brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews, of each other irrespective of the relationship as legitimate or illegitimate.
  6. the parties shall obtained the marriage license from the marriage registrar and the form for certificate of registry
To obtain a marriage license the following are required
  1. Age proof may be a passport, license etc. or if under 18 years of age then written consent from the parents for marriage.
  2. If either of the person is a divorcee then a certificate of divorce is required.
The applicant must give personal appearance while applying for the license and while taking the license from the concerned office.
The marriage license shall show all of the following:
  1. The identity of the applicant to the marriage.
  2. The applicants' real and full names, and places of residence.
  3. The applicants' ages.
The husband and wife with in few days of their marriage may apply for marriage certificate at the same office giving personal appearances.
  1. Marriages between the following persons are void from the beginning irrespective of the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate and not acceptable as per the law of California
    1. parents and children,
    2. ancestors and descendants of every degree, and
    3. between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and
    4. between uncles and nieces or
    5. aunts and nephews,
  2. A subsequent marriage contracted by a person during the life of a former husband or wife of the person, with a person other than the former husband or wife, is illegal and void from the beginning, unless:
    1. The former marriage has been dissolved or adjudged a nullity before the date of the subsequent marriage.
    2. The former husband or wife
      • is absent, and not known to the person to be living for the period of five successive years immediately preceding the subsequent marriage, or
      • is generally reputed or believed by the person to be dead at the time the subsequent marriage was contracted.
A marriage in the State of California may be solemnized by any of the following who is of the age of 18 years or older
  1. A priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination
  2. A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages(county clerk) or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.
  3. A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
  4. 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.
  1. For registration of the marriage the groom and bride having the eligibility criteria may approach
    1. the Commissioner or
    2. Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages in the offices of the Registrar-Recorder
    3. County Clerk

with the requisite form prescribed by the State Department of Health Services followed by an affidavit by the applicants that they have received the brochure issued by the Department.

  1. The Marriage can be solemnized after obtaining a Marriage License, which is valid for 90 days.
  2. While applying for the license the bride and groom should obtain the form for certificate of registry of marriage and fill out the form in presence of the County clerk.
  3. The applicants after filling the requisite column shall authenticate the same by the solemnizing authority
  4. the solemnizing authority shall cause to be entered on the certificate of registry the signature and address of one witness to the marriage ceremony.
  5. the person solemnizing the marriage shall return the certificate of registry to the county recorder of the county in which the license was issued within 10 days after the ceremony.
  1. A marriage can be made confidential and can be solemnized by either of the solemnizing authorities after obtaining a License from the office of the county clerk or the registrar.
  2. A marriage cannot be made confidential for persons below the age of 18 years.
  3. In this kind of marriages there is no need of any witness.
  4. The bride and groom must present the license to the marriage solemnizing authority.
  5. After the ceremony is over the applicants shall fill the confidential marriage certificate form and get authenticated by the solemnizing authority and then returned to the same registrar's office within 10 days.
  6. Thereafter the bride and groom can apply for the certified copy of marriage at the registrar or county clerk's office where they had submitted the marriage certificate form.