Palm Springs Law Blog

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How Do We Get Married in Riverside County?



Marriage Licenses 

A marriage license may be obtained from most branch locations of your County Clerk’s Office.  An appointment may be required, so it is very important to call for instructions before going to the location.  Blood tests are not required.  There is no residency requirement in California.  You do not need a witness to purchase a marriage license.

The couple must appear together with a valid government-issued photo I.D., and must be at least 18 years old.  It is recommended that you also bring a certified copy of your birth certificate, to expedite the identification process.  If you have had a divorce or dissolution of marriage or state-registered domestic partnership (in any state or country) in the past 90 days, you must bring in your final divorce/dissolution judgment. 

The license is valid anywhere in the state of California.  You may write and request a marriage license application be sent to you.  Be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope to return it in.  Or, you may visit the County Clerk’s website to obtain an application.  Fees vary by county, and most counties accept cash, checks, money orders and certain credit cards. 


The marriage ceremony can be performed the day the license is issued, but must be performed within 90 days of obtaining the license.  The ceremony may be performed anywhere by a priest, rabbi, minister, judge, authorized legislator, or a person authorized by the Commissioner of Civil Marriages.  You may have a civil ceremony performed by a staff member of the County Clerk’s Office.  You must bring at least one witness with you.

Certified Copies

Within 10 days after the ceremony, wherever it is held, the license must be returned to the Recorder’s Office to be recorded.  Certified copies may be obtained one week after recording and there is a fee for each copy.

Name Change

Very Important:  Parties are not required to have the same name, nor are they required to change their name.  If you do wish to identify a new name on the marriage license, it must be entered on the marriage license at the time you apply for the license.  You may not amend the marriage license after it has been issued or add or change the name you wish to be known by after you are married.  The name cannot be changed by the County Clerk.  Any changes or corrections to the name after the marriage license has been issued will require a court ordered name change.

A person may adopt any of the following middle names:

  • The current last name of either spouse
  • The last name of either spouse given at birth
  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name of the personor spouse
  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the last name given at birth of the person or spouse

A person may adopt any of the following last names:

  • The current last name of either spouse
  • The last name of either spouse given at birth
  • A name combining into a single last name all or a segment of the current last name or the last name of either spouse given at birth
  • A hyphenated combination of the last names

Note:  You may not change your first name using this process.

Parties wishing to use their new spouse’s last name may begin using it right after the ceremony.  Any governmental or financial agency that has your previous name on file should be contacted regarding the name change.   Examples are Social Security, DMV, banks and health insurance companies.  A certified copy of the recorded marriage license may be required.  Generally these agencies do not charge a fee for changing your name on their records.



INDIO                                                                          HEMET

38-686 El Cerrito Road                                             880 N. State Street, Suite B-6

Palm Desert, CA 92211                                            Hemet, CA 92543

(760) 863-7490                                                           (951) 766-2500


RIVERSIDE (GATEWAY)                                         TEMECULA

2720 Gateway Drive                                                  41002 County Center Dr., #230

Riverside, CA 92507                                                 Temecula, CA 92591

(951) 486-7000                                                           (951) 600-6200


RIVERSIDE (DOWNTOWN CAC)                            BLYTHE

4080 Lemon Street, 1st Floor                                   270 N. Broadway

Riverside, CA 92501                                                 Blythe, CA 92225

(951) 955-6200                                                           (760) 921-7888

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