Understanding The Legal Aspects of Marriage in California

A look at the legal nitty-gritty of tying the knot in the Golden State.


So, you've found the one and you're ready to take the plunge into matrimonial bliss. But before you embark on your journey of everlasting love, it's crucial to understand the legal nitty-gritty of tying the knot in the Golden State. California, known for its sunny beaches and Hollywood dreams, also has its own set of rules when it comes to marriage. Let's dive into the basics, shall we?

First things first, age matters. In California, you must be 18 or older to say "I do" without parental consent. Of course, love knows no bounds, so if you're under 18, fret not; you can still get hitched with a court order and a sprinkle of premarital counseling. Just make sure Mom or Dad signs off on your love story first.

Now, let's talk about consent. No, we're not talking about that awkward nod of agreement when your partner suggests pineapple on pizza. We mean genuine, free-willed consent to enter into the sacred union of marriage. Both parties must willingly agree to tie the knot, with no coercion involved. And let's not forget about capacity. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to get married, but you do need to be of "sound" mind, capable of understanding the gravity of your commitment. Mental illness doesn't necessarily throw a wrench in the works, as long as you grasp the concept of "till death do us part."

Then there’s the marriage license—your golden ticket to wedded bliss. Remember, it's only valid for 90 days, so don't let it gather dust on your bedside table. Once you've exchanged vows and sealed your love with a kiss, make sure to return the signed certificate to the county clerk's office within ten days. After all, you don't want your happily ever after to be marred by bureaucratic mishaps.

But what if you're already married in another state? Fear not, lovebirds. California recognizes marriages from other states or foreign lands, as long as they're legit in their place of origin. So, if you tied the knot in the city of love or the land of the free, rest assured, your union holds water in the Golden State.

Still feeling a tad perplexed? Don't worry; you're not alone. Marriage law can be as confusing as deciphering your partner's cryptic text messages. If you find yourself in need of legal guidance or simply want to unravel the intricacies of California's matrimonial maze, consider consulting a California family law attorney. They'll help you navigate the legal landscape and ensure your journey down the aisle is as smooth as silk.

So there you have it, folks—a crash course in the legal aspects of marriage in California. Remember, love may conquer all, but a little legal savvy never hurt anyone. Now, go forth and say "I do" with confidence, knowing you've got the legal lowdown on your side.


California Marriage Law. (Last reviewed March 16, 2018). Retrieved from FindLaw's website