For some couples, protecting their privacy is a high priority. If so, they might choose to obtain a confidential marriage license instead of a public marriage license in San Diego, CA. Public figures and celebrities often try to conceal their marriage for several reasons, but confidential marriage licenses are available to any couple who meets the eligibility requirements. 

Eligibility Requirements for a Confidential Marriage License vs. a Public Marriage License in California 

When you want to get married in California, you and your spouse must apply for a marriage license. Once the ceremony is complete, the marriage license becomes a marriage certificate. 

Public marriage licenses or non-confidential marriage licenses are the most common types of marriage licenses. The requirements for a public marriage license are:

  • Must have at least two witnesses present at the ceremony.
  • Two witnesses must sign the marriage license after the ceremony. The witnesses must be old enough to understand they are witnessing a marriage ceremony and must sign the license without assistance. 
  • The cost of a public marriage license is $129. If you are married in a civil ceremony, the fee is $107 for the ceremony and $58 for a witness provided by the County Clerk. 

The California Family Code authorizes the clerk to issue a confidential marriage license if a couple meets the requirements. The requirements for a confidential marriage license include:

  • The couple must live together as spouses when applying for the confidential marriage license.
  • The couple must sign under penalty of perjury attesting to the fact that they are living together as spouses.
  • Witnesses do not need to be present at the marriage ceremony or sign the marriage license. 
  • The fee for a confidential marriage license is $144.

Couples may also obtain a confidential marriage license from an Authorized Notary Public. This option is convenient and allows for even more privacy because an Authorized Notary Public might be available to issue the confidential marriage license outside of regular business hours and office locations. 

What Are the Benefits of Obtaining a Confidential Marriage License in San Diego?

The primary reason to apply for a confidential marriage license is privacy. Marriage licenses are a matter of public record by default.

However, confidential marriage licenses are not a matter of public record. Anyone other than the married couple requesting a confidential marriage certificate must have a court order allowing them access to the information. 

This means that your ex-spouse or nosy family members could not obtain a copy of your marriage certificate. News or media outlets cannot obtain copies of a confidential marriage certificate. 

Getting married without witnesses is another benefit of a confidential marriage license. If you have a confidential marriage license, you only need someone authorized to officiate a wedding present. Judges, notary publics, and others legally authorized can perform marriage ceremonies in California.

Another benefit of a confidential marriage license is protecting your personal information. Hacking and fraud are increasing. Personal data is available online. Therefore, many people want to protect as much of their privacy as possible, so they opt for a confidential marriage license to keep the information out of public records. 

What Is the Effect of a Confidential Marriage License on a Separation or a Divorce?

Obtaining a confidential marriage license can make getting married easier. You only need the person performing the ceremony present to marry your partner legally. 

Many people assume that a confidential marriage license makes getting divorced easier since getting married is easier. However, this is not the case. 

A confidential marriage has no impact on the separation or divorce process. You must file a petition for dissolution of marriage and go through the same process as if you had a public marriage license. The divorce process is the only legal way to end your marriage, regardless of the type of marriage license you applied for when you got married.

One way to make a divorce easier is to enter a pre-nuptial agreement before your confidential marriage. A pre-nuptial agreement allows you and your partner to agree on terms for spousal support and property division. You can also include terms related to inheritance, life insurance, and other financial matters to avoid delays, costs, and litigation should you decide to divorce. 

Another thing that can make your divorce easier and less stressful is hiring an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer. An experienced divorce attorney works to protect your best interests and obtain the outcome you desire for your divorce case. Furthermore, your attorney takes care of all paperwork and filings, so you know everything is handled correctly. 


Contact our experienced San Diego divorce lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108