Sunday, August 2, 2009

EXPLAINER: Public vs. Confidential Marriage Licenses

What is the difference between a PUBLIC marriage license, and a CONFIDENTIAL marriage license?

As you may already know, to be married in the state of California, regardless of where you choose to be married, you must obtain a marriage license. To obtain a marriage license, you must: 1) be over the age of 18; 2) appear together in person at the Clerk/Recorder office; and 3) present valid identification. In addition, if you have had a marriage dissolved in the past 90 days, you must show proof of dissolution. If your previous spouse passed away, you must show a death certificate or the equivalent.

There are two marriage license options: public and confidential. In a nutshell, the difference between these two types of licenses is explained below:

PUBLIC Marriage License
*PUBLIC (as defined on Open to all persons; generally known; open to the view of all. Of, pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole; existing or conducted in public.
*License is public record, and anyone requesting a copy or information on the record will be given it.
*Cost: $61.50 in Orange County $90.00 in Los Angeles County
*Needs signature of at least one witness over 18 years old.
*Obtain in any county in California and have wedding ceremony in any county in California.
*License is valid for 90 days.
CONFIDENTIAL Marriage License

*CONFIDENTIAL (as defined on Bearing the classification confidential (usually being above restricted and below secret) and limited to persons authorized to use information, documents, etc., so classified. Spoken, written, acted on, etc., in strict privacy or secrecy; secret. Having another's trust or confidence.
*License is a confidential record, and the only people able to obtain information of this record are the couple, except under certain circumstances.
*Cost: $66.50 in Orange County,  $85.00 in Los Angeles County
*No witness necessary.
*Wedding ceremony must be held in county where license was obtained.
*License is valid for 90 days.
*Couple must be living together for 6 months prior to marriage.
Please contact A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY for further information about marriage licenses. See our interactive map of offices to obtain a marriage license in Los Angeles, Orange County and greater Southern California!

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