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California Confidential Marriage License

One of the advantages of a confidential marriage license is that you can have a specialized notary (usually a specially authorized wedding officiant, but not all wedding officiants) provide you with an immediate signed and notarized "customer copy" of your marriage license and certificate that is immediate, but temporary, valid proof of your marriage for all non-governmental purposes, such as insurance, banking or property issues. No other California county provides such a duplicate. Instead, if you marry with a marriage license issued by any other county you'll have to wait up to 10 weeks or more to receive a "certified copy" of your marriage license and certificate and will have no specific proof of your marriage until that time.

Although you will immediately receive a customer copy,you will also need to acquire at least one "certified" copy of your marriage license from the County so you will have permanent proof of your marriage for any governmental purposes such as name changes or immigration matters. You'll also need a certified copy for non-governmental matters that occur more than a few weeks after your wedding day. A certified copy request form will be provided to you when your marriage license issued.

Time: A confidential marriage license can be issued by a specialized notary who can bring the license to you and help you to avoid the hours, sometimes days, waiting at the county clerk's office.

The two limitations of a confidential marriage license are that
  1. the license is valid only if your marriage ceremony takes place in Los Angeles County.
  2. any permanent certified copies of the marriage license and certificate can be obtained only by either the bride or the groom by visiting the Los Angeles County Clerk's office or by submitting a request by mail with a notarized Certificate of Identity.  The mailed request can be submitted along with the original Marriage License and Certificate when it is sent to the Registrar Recorder-County Clerk to be recorded right after the wedding takes place.

A confidential marriage license is a completely legal license and can be issued by either a special notary, who has been authorized by the county of Los Angeles to issue a license to a couple, or by the county clerk's office. There are only 8 Los Angeles county clerk's offices, and one is on Catalina Island, opened during working hours, so it is often beneficial to a couple to avoid the hassle of the trip together since the couple must appear together during working hours in order to file it with the clerk and that process can take several hours. A special notary can file the license for you any time of the week and deliver it to you.

A couple must state to the notary or Los Angeles county clerk office that they have been living together, as husband and wife- not as roommates. There is no time requirement as to how long the couple has lived together and the there requirement that such a living arrangement be proved.

A Confidential Marriage License in Los Angeles county costs $85. A Public Marriage License costs $90.

Getting Married in Los Angeles County, California