How to Find Marriage Record in California: A Step-by-Step Guide

A Marriage Record certificate is a legal document that states the date and time of your wedding, the names of the people who married you, and some other details about your wedding.

This can be useful if you want to show legitimacy for your marriage on a job application or in an argumentative situation. It also proves that you were married when your children were born and shows which state you got married to.

What is a Marriage Record?

A marriage record documents when two people get married and lists all their information about them, including their names, date of birth, place of residence, and other information about them. A California marriage record is a document that consists of certificates and licenses.

These documents have different levels of credibility is, they can be used for different processes in the state’s legal system. However, these records mostly contain similar information-they state that a legal union between two people took place in the eyes of the California government.

Marriage Record

What are the main benefits of marriage records?

Marriage records are a way to store important information about your wedding. They include all the details and personal information. There are many benefits to keeping marriage records. If you want to prove the legitimacy of your marriage in an argumentative situation or on a job application, these records can be useful.

They show the date and time of your wedding, names of spouse and witnesses – all valuable information that would come in handy!

What is a Marriage License?

To get married in California, you need a license. The two types of marriage licenses are public or confidential. Both require the same type of information from both parties: names, dates, and statements about the upcoming wedding in general terms.

A Marriage License is also a kind of contract that states what rights and obligations both parties must meet as well as certain requirements for accessing one in California such as:

  • The couple to be married must be present in person
  • The minimum age of the couple should be 18 years
  • The Social Security numbers must be reported by the couples
  • A valid government photo ID is provided by both the persons entering into the marriage. This must include a state ID, military ID card, a state driver’s license, passport, and any visas that either party may have in light of the ID status.

Here are some ways to find marriage records in California

You can go to the county recorder’s office or visit the California Department of Public Health- Vital Records website to obtain your marriage license.

How to Find Free California Marriage Records Online

Marriage records of any kind, including marriage certificates and licenses, are not free for the public. But one can obtain a certificate or license with a small fee from the county where their marriage occurred through its clerk’s office. These documents will not be verified as state-certified but they will be valid nonetheless.

Visit the California State Association of Counties Website for information on individual counties’ contacts and offices!

Where can you find the marriage Certificate?

Public marriage certificates are maintained at the County Recorder’s office for the county where the license was purchased. Additionally, public marriages that happened in 1905-2000 or 2008 to the present day can be found by contacting and following specific instructions of the California Department of Public Health Vital Records Office (CDPH-VR).

To apply for an official copy through CDPH-VR, you must fill out an application form along with all fees required and submit valid photocopies of two forms: your identification card and request. There is a $15 government fee per certificate applied. A check or money order should be made payable to “CDPH- VR.” The following information must be shown on the application form:

  • The name of the applicant as shown on the license
  • marriage date or date range
  •  city or county where the marriage took place
  • date of birth of both husband or wife
  • age of both husband and wife at the finalization of marriage

Mail this application to:
CA Department of Public Health – Vital Records
MS: 5103
P.O. Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

How long do marriage records last?

Marriage records last for three years. You can keep them longer if you need to prove the legitimacy of your marriage in an argumentative situation or on a job application. However, they will eventually be destroyed once the three years are up.


If you are trying to find someone’s full name and address or trying to find out about a potential spouse, marriage records can be the answer. We have put together a detailed step-by-step guide that will tell you everything there is to know about how to search for marriage records in California.

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