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Love Aside: Legal Steps to Tying Knot

February 14, 1991|CAROLINE LEMKE

There are two types of marriage licenses issued in California: regular and confidential.

The confidential license, which can be issued more quickly because it does not require a blood test, is the more popular of the two in North County.

Last year, 3,201 confidential licenses and 2,756 regular marriage licenses were issued out of the county clerk's office at the courthouse in Vista. In 1989, 2,991 confidential licenses and 2,656 regular licenses were issued.

Regular License

A regular marriage license costs $35 and is issued by the county clerk--located in North County at 325 S. Melrose Drive, Vista.

Before the license is issued, state law requires the bride and groom to get a blood test, which can range anywhere from $29 to $55 for her to $12 to $45 for him, depending on whether it is performed by a private physician or at a clinic. The tests check the woman's blood for syphilis and rubella and check the man's blood for syphilis. By state law, AIDS testing has to be offered by the doctor or technician, but the couple has the option of not being tested.

There is no state regulation on how long a doctor's office or clinic has to mail out a signed health certificate. However, the certificate must note the date the blood test was performed.

Within 30 days, the couple must present their signed and dated health certificate to the county clerk and fill out a one-page application, giving their names, dates of birth, parents' names, addresses and occupations. They must pay the $35 license fee in cash.

A license is issued immediately and it is valid anywhere in California for 90 days.

Confidential License

A confidential license can be issued by the county clerk or by a specially certified minister.

The county clerk charges the state-regulated minimum fee of $41; ministers certified to issue the licenses may charge an additional fee. There are a handful of ministers in North County who can issue these licenses.

To obtain a confidential license, a couple must swear under penalty of perjury that they have been living together as husband and wife. Other than the oath, the couple does not have to prove they have been living together for any specific period.

Because no blood test is required, there is no waiting period.

As with a regular license, a one-page application must be filled out and fees to the county clerk must be paid in cash. When the confidential license is issued through a certified minister, it must be filed with the county clerk within four days.

The only restriction on the confidential license is that the couple must marry in San Diego County within 90 days of obtaining the license.

Under Age 18

A bride or groom under 18 must have parental permission before obtaining a marriage license.

This consent can come from the mother or father of the underage person. Permission can be in the form of a written, notarized letter or the parent can appear in person at the county clerk's office and fill out a one-page consent form.

A bride or groom age 15 or under must follow the above steps but also must provide a written, notarized letter from a marriage counselor.

A Superior Court judge approves or denies all marriage licenses involving underage brides or grooms.

Specific information for couples under 18 can be obtained by calling 694-4601.

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