There are many reasons why you might need to obtain copies of California marriage records. Having copies of your own marriage record could be helpful in court proceedings, or you might be researching your family tree and need information about the marriage of a relative. California has made it easy to conduct searches by making their records available online.
Informational and authorized copies of California marriage records
Copies of California marriage records fall into two categories: authorized copies and informational copies. Authorized copies can be used for any purpose you wish, including as a method of establishing identification. Informational copies are marked as such and cannot be used for identification purposes.
State law requires that you meet one of the following criteria in order to obtain an authorized copy of your California marriage records:
- You must be the individual named in the marriage record or be the parent, child, grandparent or other close relative of one of the parties named in it.
- You have a court order allowing you to obtain an authorized copy of the record.
- You are a member of a law enforcement or government agency, and your request is related to official government business.
- You are the attorney of one of the parties named in the marriage record, or you are a representative of the estate of one of the parties.
- You are working on behalf of a funeral establishment acting on behalf of a person named in the official public record.
If you are not eligible to obtain an authorized copy of a marriage record, you can still get an informational copy.
Availability of California marriage records
The California Department of Public Health does not have all marriage records in the state available on its website. Records that are available at the CDPH website include those for the following years:
- 2010 through the present
- 1998 through 1999
- 1949 through 1986
Records for the following years are only available through the county recorder's office in the county that issued the marriage license:
- 2000 through 2009
- 1987 through 1997
- 1905 through 1948
Obtaining certified copies of California marriage records
Both the state and local counties can issue certified copies of marriage records. If you are requesting a copy from the CDPH, your request should be sent directly to them with the appropriate fee. The fees for copies of California marriage records can be found on the state's website.
Requests for certified copies of marriage records that are not available through the state should be directed to the county. You should check the website of the county from which you are requesting California marriage records to find out what fees are charged and the address to which the request should be sent.
If you are not sure about the type of record, certified or not certified, that you need, you can try asking someone at the local recorder's office. Another option for you would be to ask an attorney.