Marriage Certificates in California

One of those things you never think about until you have to do it...In order to change your name, you need to get an official marriage certificate. You might think they would automatically send you one when you get married, but they don't - you have to order it. Okay, that's fine. Here's where I got confused though - we were married in San Francisco County, so I thought our marriage would be recorded in San Francisco County. Wrong! Because we got our marriage license in Los Angeles County, where we live, that's where the marriage gets officially recorded, regardless of where the marriage takes place. I tried to order the certificate from SF and they said our marriage didn't exist, so I was very worried! I was not at all happy about the idea of after having gone through all of this, having the marriage somehow be invalid. But my DH said, "No worries - I'll marry you as many times as you want!" Awww. Anyway, the certificate arrived yesterday from LA County - whew!

I just thought I'd share this, since I haven't seen any discussion about it and I know from personal experience that the information available online is really unclear!
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 5:33 am
MarinBride
3
04/05/2008
MarinBride

MarinBride

  • 3
  • 11
  • 1.14k
116
Followers
120
Following

(12) Comments

jess143
10
09/19/2009
jess143

jess143

  • 10
  • 13
  • 12.6k
342
Followers
345
Following

jess143

I bet that made your heart stop! lol...I'm soo confused on this whole part. It's the only part of planning/ getting married that I'm afraid I'll mess up on
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 5:36 am
mrs.julia.gulia
2
08/31/2008
mrs.julia.gulia

mrs.julia.gulia

  • 2
  • 3
  • 398
15
Followers
20
Following

mrs.julia.gulia

aching, i'm planning to be legally hitched in San Mateo county next month. when i called to ask my 100 questions, they said i would walk out with the certificate the same day. should i double check?? i need to make sure we have all the proper legal paperwork before we head off overseas!
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 5:36 am
Ms.Sumomo
3
06/24/2007
Ms.Sumomo

Ms.Sumomo

  • 3
  • 2
  • 851
23
Followers
4
Following

Ms.Sumomo

mrs.julia - I thiink what they meant is they will give you your signed license and you are going to need to mail it to the county recorder. Kittnmouse got their license back and had to mail it. Then you wait two weeks to get recorded and you can order an official certificate. HTH

Aching - I know you have to get your certificate where you order your license...and you have to pay for it, they don't send it to you automatic. fees and fees and more fees
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 5:42 am
MarinBride
3
04/05/2008
MarinBride

MarinBride

  • 3
  • 11
  • 1.14k
116
Followers
120
Following

MarinBride

Jess - They make it more complicated than it needs to be! But the license is simple - it's just this certificate thing that was really confusing.

Julia - Maybe San Mateo is different than San Francisco, but assuming it's the same, you walk out with a pretty souvenir certificate that everyone signed, but it's not legal. The legal document isn't available until a few weeks later (for ours, it took exactly 10 days to be recorded). If you order the certificate from the right county (unlike me), I would imagine it would take a month to get your legal certificate. How much time do you have? I hope this doesn't mess you up!

Just to be clear - when you get married at City Hall or a courthouse, you don't have to mail in your license, they do that for you. But you still need to order your own certificate!
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 5:43 am
mrs.julia.gulia
2
08/31/2008
mrs.julia.gulia

mrs.julia.gulia

  • 2
  • 3
  • 398
15
Followers
20
Following

mrs.julia.gulia

crap. i think we have enough time. we're shooting for july 11 as the civil date (gotta call on june 11 to book it). i leave for the philippines on aug 12, FI leaves aug 22. so as long as they don't mess up, we should have enough time..... ack!

why does everything have to be so difficult? i just want to get married, geez.
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 6:01 am
d1rtymart1n1
20
12/04/2009
d1rtymart1n1

d1rtymart1n1

  • 20
  • 16
  • 32.2k
537
Followers
538
Following

d1rtymart1n1

"...why does everything have to be so difficult. i just want to get married, geez" ----> truer words have never been spoken!!!
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 6:22 am
MarinBride
3
04/05/2008
MarinBride

MarinBride

  • 3
  • 11
  • 1.14k
116
Followers
120
Following

MarinBride

Take a deep breath, Julia, it'll be all right!

Here's the form you need to submit: http://www.smcare.org/records/marriage/documents/Request.FormCCM.pdf

Have it all filled out ahead of time with your check, and then drop it in the mail the day you get married. You could probably even mail it before you get married, but like I said, it takes 1-2 weeks for the marriage to be recorded.
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 6:58 am
mrs.julia.gulia
2
08/31/2008
mrs.julia.gulia

mrs.julia.gulia

  • 2
  • 3
  • 398
15
Followers
20
Following

mrs.julia.gulia

thanks aching!

sigh, sorry for that little downer bit - i'm back down to earth from my high of the e-pics yesterday. aching, please tell me all the drama stops after the wedding! =)
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 7:18 am
Ms.Sumomo
3
06/24/2007
Ms.Sumomo

Ms.Sumomo

  • 3
  • 2
  • 851
23
Followers
4
Following

Ms.Sumomo

julia - if you are press for time. You can actually order a certificate in person. DH and I called two weeks after the wedding to check if it has been recorded...and we drove to pick a copy.

HTH
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 7:35 am
MarinBride
3
04/05/2008
MarinBride

MarinBride

  • 3
  • 11
  • 1.14k
116
Followers
120
Following

MarinBride

Julia - Yes, I promise, the drama stops after the wedding. And, if you're anything like me, you'll really miss wedding-planning once it's past!
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 8:50 am
*Mandy*
3
05/24/2008
*Mandy*

*Mandy*

  • 3
  • 10
  • 707
52
Followers
57
Following

*Mandy*

Luckily, my minister asked for the copy of the certificate fee upfront, so when he signed everything, he would send it out and request for it at that time, too.

I know someone mentioned it here awhile back, but how do you get a more "fancy" license in California -- instead of just the computer print out version?
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 9:09 am
mrs.julia.gulia
2
08/31/2008
mrs.julia.gulia

mrs.julia.gulia

  • 2
  • 3
  • 398
15
Followers
20
Following

mrs.julia.gulia

Update....

I made my reservation for our legal ceremony in San Mateo today - it'll be in exactly one month! (Still don't know what to wear?!) I asked the lady on the phone when I can get the legal marriage certificate and she says as long as I tell them when I apply for the license (an hour before the ceremony), they will make sure the judge gets everything signed and we should have the certified copy of the marriage certificate on the same day.

FYI!
Posted on June 11, 2008 at 5:29 am

Have a question? Contact Support
Top Contributors this Week
LauraSweet
18 posts
jasmin77
16 posts
NicholeB
16 posts
Canooknic
15 posts
Kuppy13
14 posts
krosa
13 posts