Apply for a Marriage License

Follow these steps to get married in the State of California:

Select your new name before applying for a marriage license.

Learn how to choose your married name. click here

Both you and your future spouse need to appear together in person at the Clerk-Recorder's Office to apply for a marriage license.

Clerk-Recorder's Office
1021 I Street
Modesto, CA 95354

Appointments are necessary for a marriage license application. Call (209) 525-5251

Prior to your marriage ceremony, give the marriage license to the wedding official. After the ceremony, the wedding official and at least one witness sign the license.

Following the ceremony, your completed marriage license should be returned to the Clerk Recorder Office within the next 10 days.

When the Clerk-Recorder’s Office receives your license and records it, the license becomes a marriage certificate.

Use your marriage certificate as proof of your marriage.

Certified copies can only be ordered after the ceremony has taken place and it has been recorded, at the Clerk Office.

For the instructions and application for a certified copy of a public or confidential marriage license, click here.

COVID 19 Marriage License Procedure Packet

COVID 19 Marriage License Procedure Packet (English)

Marriage License

The public and confidential marriage license can be used anywhere in the State of California. You and your future spouse must be present to apply for a license.

Get Organized

To apply for a public marriage license you will need:

  1. Both Party A and Party B must be present to apply.
  2. Valid picture identification of Party A and Party B.
  3. Complete a marriage license application and pay the marriage license fee. For the application, instructions and fee, click here. If the license is lost before the ceremony the couple must pay the fee for a new license.
  4. Party A and Party B parents full birth names, including mother's maiden name.
  5. State or country of birth of Party A and Party B parents.
  6. Date of dissolution of most recent previous marriage.
  7. If divorce was finalized within the last 90 days, the applicant will need to provide a certified copy of the final entry of judgment.

Public Marriage License

A public marriage license is valid for ninety (90) days from the date it was issued. It is a permit to marry. You are not legally married until the marriage is solemnized by a person authorized to do so. The license can be used anywhere in the State of California. You do not need a blood test. You must present the license to the person who is to perform the marriage ceremony. It is their responsibility to return it to the County Clerk for filing within ten days after the ceremony. The public license is a public record and available for anyone's inspection. It may be published in a local newspaper. One witness is required on the public marriage license. Two are also acceptable.

To apply for a confidential marriage license you will need:

  1. Both Party A and Party B must be present to apply.
  2. Valid picture identification of Party A and Party B.
  3. Pay marriage license fee. For the application, instructions and fee, click here. If the license is lost before the ceremony the couple must pay the fee for a new license.
  4. Party A and Party B’s parents full birth names, including mother's maiden name.
  5. State or Country of birth of Party A and Party B’s parents.
  6. Date of dissolution of most recent previous marriage.
  7. If divorce was finalized within the last 90 days, the applicant will need to provide a certified copy of the final entry of judgment.

Confidential Marriage License

A confidential marriage license is valid for ninety (90) days. It can be used anywhere in California. A couple must sign under penalty of perjury that they are over 18 years of age and currently living together as spouses. A copy of the marriage license may be obtained only by the party A or party B. The document is confidential, the clerk may indicate whether a confidential license has been issued, but no other information may be given except to the party A or party B. No witnesses are necessary for the confidential marriage license.

Minors

Minors, emancipated minors included, cannot be licensed to marry in California without a parent's written consent and a Superior Court Order. Please call for more information. Stanislaus County Superior Court website.

Marriage License Process

  1. An appointment is necessary for a marriage license. Schedule an appointment or call (209) 525-5251.
  2. Show up at the Clerk-Recorder's Office with your future spouse.
  3. Fill out a marriage license application online before you arrive.
  4. Check in at the front desk of the Clerk Recorder’s Office and wait to be called to meet with a Clerk.
  5. At the Clerk's window, present valid personal identification (driver’s license, passport, permanent resident card).

Pay the License Fee

Marriage License Fees
Issuing Public Marriage License $76.00
Issuing Duplicate Marriage License $11.00
Issuing Confidential Marriage License $81.00
Performing Civil Marriage Ceremony $45.00
Keepsake Certificate $10.00

Forms


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