Obtaining Copies of a California Marriage Certificate

Marriage Certificates Obtaining Copies of a California Marriage Certificate

How to Request a California Marriage Certificate Copy

While you receive a marriage certificate after you get married, it's easy to misplace those documents. You may want to request a replacement marriage certificate. You may also need to request someone else's marriage certificate. It is possible to do this in California, but it can be a bit of a bother.

Luckily, DoNotPay is here to help. DoNotPay can make the process of requesting a California marriage certificate faster and more convenient, saving you the hassle of making the request by yourself. DoNotPay also helps with notary services and mailing as well.

Requesting  isn't the only thing that DoNotPay is great for. DoNotPay features can help take care of a variety of tasks on your to-do list.

The Difference Between Marriage Certificates and Marriage Licenses

Be aware that a marriage certificate is different from a marriage license. The marriage license comes first and is a permit to get married. In California, the wedding must take place within 90 days from when the license is issued, says the Office of the County Clerk in San Francisco. The two people don't have to live in California or be U.S. residents to get a license, and the wedding can be held anywhere in California.

California does offer both a public marriage license and a confidential marriage license. The public one becomes a public record, and the confidential one can only be accessed by the people listed on the marriage license. They must already be living together when they apply for the confidential marriage license.

The marriage certificate shows that a wedding took place and the couple is married. This legal document issued by the government is useful for several important reasons, including the following:

  1. Legally changing your name to your spouse's name
  2. Sharing health benefits
  3. Filing taxes
  4. Applying for loans and mortgages
  5. Applying for new passports or bank accounts
  6. Arranging property succession to a spouse

Who Can Get a Marriage Certificate Copy in California?

When people get married, they give their marriage license to the officiant to be submitted. The certified copy of the marriage certificate is then available approximately 10 days later. The marriage certificate can be requested from the county in California where the marriage license was issued, and some details of requesting a marriage certificate may vary from county to county. Since there are two types of marriage certificates in California, who is eligible to request each one is different.

Public Marriage Certificate

A public marriage certificate can be requested by one of the people in the marriage or by a parent or legal guardian of one of those people, says the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Also eligible to make a request are a child, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner of either person in the marriage.

An attorney of either person in the marriage, or of the person's estate, or a court-appointed person acting on behalf of one of the people in the marriage (or his or her estate) can request a marriage certificate. The public marriage certificate can also be requested by law enforcement or the representative of a government agency conducting official business.

Informational certified copies are also available, which provide information but aren't a valid way to prove identity. Anyone can request an informational version.

Confidential Marriage Certificate

Copies of a confidential marriage license can only be requested by the people who were married or by court order. Informational certified copies of the marriage license are not available for confidential marriage licenses.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Marriage Certificate Copy in California?

A marriage certificate can be requested in person, online, or by mail in California; however, not all counties currently allow walk-in requests. While the cost per copy is standard across the state, fees can vary by county:

In Person$15.00 Cash, Check$2.50 Credit or Debit Fee
Mail$15.00 Check, Money OrderNo Fee
Online$15.00$7.00 Credit or Debit Fee

How Long Does It Take to Get a Copy of a Marriage Certificate in California?

The amount of time it takes to receive the marriage certificate in California depends on the county and how the request is submitted. In L.A. County, a walk-in request will be filled while you wait for marriage certificates from 1995 to the present. Older ones from 1852 through 1994 will be mailed within 20 days. Submissions by mail or online are processed within 20 days of when the request is received.

In Santa Clara County, online requests are processed in about a week, and mailed requests are processed in two to three weeks. Walk-in requests aren't currently being taken there. In San Francisco County, in-person requests are processed in about 20 minutes. Online, phone, and mailed requests are processed in five days. Due to the pandemic, there are presently delays of four to six weeks.

What Documents Do I Need to Get a Copy of a Marriage Certificate in California?

You'll want to have the required documents collected before requesting a marriage certificate by yourself. In California, you'll need information to complete the form, including the names of both parties in the marriage, the date of the marriage, and the county where the marriage license was issued. The form will need to be notarized (unless you request in person or only want an informational certified copy). In addition, you'll need a payment. In some counties, you'll need a legal photo I.D. to request in person or a self-addressed stamped envelope to request by mail.

How to Request a California Marriage Certificate by Yourself

It is possible to request a California marriage certificate on your own, but it can be a tedious process involving finding the county-specific requirements, filling out government forms, and visiting a notary. Requesting by person requires a trip to the county clerk's office. When requesting by mail, you'll need to download and fill out a form. Then you'll have to get it notarized before sending it by mail along with a check or money order and a return envelope.

When requesting online, you'll have to complete an online form and still print it and have it notarized. The notarized form is submitted by fax or email, but the payment is submitted online.

Request a California Marriage Certificate Instantly with the Help of DoNotPay

If requesting a  sounds frustrating, then DoNotPay is the perfect solution for you. DoNotPay makes the process simple and easy. You don't have to go anywhere, print anything, or find a notary or even a stamp.

If you want to order a marriage certificate copy in California but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 7 easy steps:

  1. Go to the Certificates of Marriage product on DoNotPay.


  2. Select whether the certificate belongs to you or a relative/loved one. If it belongs to someone else, enter the details of both people on the certificate and select/upload evidence that proves your relationship with them. If the certificate is yours, enter the details of your spouse.


  3. Enter the city, state, and county where the marriage certificate was issued as well as the date it was issued.


  4. Indicate what you will be using this certificate for, and choose whether you need an authorized or certified copy.


  5. Enter your contact information and shipping address. Upload copies of your government-issued identification, such as a driver's license.


  6. Choose whether you would like to electronically sign this form or not. Once we generate the form, verify that all of the information is correct


  7. If you need the document to be notarized, schedule a notarization appointment using our Notary product. Otherwise, proceed to our Mail Checks product and let DoNotPay mail-in your request form with a check on your behalf.


Why You Should Use DoNotPay to Order a Copy of Your Marriage Certificate

DoNotPay makes getting that important marriage certificate painless since it's fast, easy, and successful.

  • Fast—You don't have to spend hours trying to solve the issue. DoNotPay walks you through the process entirely online.
  • Easy—You don't have to struggle to fill out tedious forms or keep track of all the steps involved in solving your problem. DoNotPay even has a virtual notary and check mailing services, and we'll file the request for you.
  • Successful—You can rest assured knowing we'll take care of the request for you.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

Requesting California marriage certificates isn't the only task that DoNotPay can help you with. Here are just a few of the other features that DoNotPay offers:

Sign up with DoNotPay to request a  and take care of other tasks.

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