California Marriage Laws

State of California Marriage License Requirements

California contains several different marriage laws and regulations which require individuals to make some decisions before getting their licenses.

California laws allowed gay marriage after the US Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex marriage. California marriage law states that individuals should be of appropriate age (18 or older without parental consent), both have to consent to the marriage, and should also have the capacity.

For the existence of consent, both individuals should freely enter the marriage and must not be forced in any way to get married. They should also have no mistake as to the nature of the union. The consent exists only if both individuals meet these conditions.

The Sacramento marriage law affirms that for a person to have the capacity, they should be of “sound” mind and have a capability to understand and appreciate their union’s nature. The requirement does not prohibit a person with any form of mental illness from marrying. As long as the individual understands their obligations to the person they are marrying, they are considered to be of “sound” mind. The physical inability to consummate the marriage also does not limit a person from having capacity.

California law allows minors to marry as long as the minor can consent to the marriage after receiving a court order granting permission for the underage persons to marry. Before obtaining the order, the court might need the minors to go through non-denominational premarital counseling.  It may also set a considerate fee for the program to be paid by the minors. Additionally, the minors must obtain written permission from at least one parent of each minor to marry. The consent will be filed alongside the court order granting permission to marry. A certified copy of the order will have to be taken to the county clerk to obtain a marriage license.

Procedurally, the couple requires getting a marriage license from the county clerk before marriage. The California marriage license is only valid for ninety days. The couple has to get married within this period after applying for the marriage license. After the marriage takes place and the marriage certificate has been signed and completed, the marriage license has to be taken back to the county clerk’s office from where it was issued within ten days after the ceremony.


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