California Valid Marriage
A California valid marriage is defined as a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman. A California valid marriage requires the consent of the parties and that both parties are capable of entering into a contract. Remember, marriage is a contract and consent alone does not constitute a marriage nor does consenting to a marriage make it a valid marriage. Consent must be followed by solemnization, authentication, and the issuing of the license. The license must be recorded in the place (county) where the solemnization and authentication took place. All of these elements must be present to have a California valid marriage.
Solemnization and Authentication
The solemnization and authentication process for a California valid marriage can be administered by any of the following:
- An authorized religious person of any religious denomination,
- An active or retired judge,
- An active or retired court commissioner,
- A state or federal legislator representing a district in California,
- A county supervisor, or
- A duly-elected city mayor.
This is not a civil ceremony but merely an appearance for the man and wife to declare that they take the other party as his or her spouse. There must be a minimum of two witnesses to this declaration. After the solemnization, the person solemnizing the marriage must return the license within ten days completely filled out to the county where the license was issued. A marriage license will then be issued by the county clerk’s office.
Consent to a California Valid Marriage
The man and woman consenting must be an unmarried male of the age of 18 years or older, and an unmarried female of the age of 18 years or older, and not otherwise disqualified. Both must be capable of consenting to and consummating marriage.
An unmarried male or female under the age of 18 years is capable of consenting to and consummating marriage if each of the following documents is filed with the county clerk issuing the marriage license:
- The written consent of the parents of each underage person, or of one of the parents or the guardian of each underage person or,
- A court order granting permission to the underage person to marry, obtained on the showing the court requires. If it appears to the satisfaction of the court by application of a minor that the minor requires a written consent to marry and that the minor has no parent or has no parent capable of consenting, the court may make an order consenting to the issuance of a marriage license and granting permission to the minor to marry. The order shall be filed with the county clerk at the time the license is issued.
A marriage contracted outside this state that would be valid by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was contracted is valid in this state. A marriage entered into in another state or country can qualify as a valid California marriage.
California does not recognize “common law marriage.” The mere fact that two people live together – even if the act like “married people” will not give them legal marital status. There is one exception, however. If the parties became married via another state’s common law statues, and they moved to California, then California will recognize the parties as married. A common law marriage from another state can qualify as a California valid marriage.
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