How To Get Legally Married During The Coronavirus Crisis
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Instead of a bouquet, a masked bride holds a bottle of Corona beer in her Instagram wedding photo. A groom gamely wields a can of disinfectant. Its hard to tell if anyone is blushing behind the masks. Marriage in the time of coronavirus, like many aspects of life, has changed.
Couples in Southern California looking to say I do before the pandemic hit had plenty of options. For a fee, a wedding planner could handle everything from the flowers to the vows. Or the couple could sprint down to the courthouse themselves for a quick civil marriage.
Now, tying the knot has become more complex. How do you get a marriage license? Can you get a marriage license?
Heres how it works now, and in some cases doesnt, in Southern California.
What’s Considered A Common Law Marriage In California
California does not have common law marriage. Instead, you have to be legally married to be considered married in California. “It seems that couples who were considered common-law spouses in another state before moving to California might be treated similarly when going through a ‘divorce’ in California, but there is no common law marriage in California,” said Nathan.
However, she noted that there is another legal structure that exists in California and might be where some people get confused: A California domestic partnership. She explained that this is a legal relationship, analogous to marriage, created in 1999 to extend the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. This was created since same-sex couples weren’t able to be legally married in California at that time and was also available for opposite-sex couples over the age of 62. “It was extended to all opposite-sex couples as of January 1, 2020. However, while this provides all benefits afforded to marriage within California, it is not recognized by the federal government,” she said. “Therefore, it is not considered married for any federal benefits or rights.”
Are There Virtual Ceremonies
On April 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order allowing couples to legally wed through videoconferencing during the pandemic.
This order didnt suddenly make ad hoc Zoom weddings legally binding. But it gave county clerks the discretion to develop a teleconference system through which marriage licenses could be issued and civil ceremonies could be performed.
Teleconferencing could allow people who cant obtain a license in person because of mobility or health reasons, such as not having a car or being at high risk for contracting COVID-19 the opportunity to legally wed. Others may need to get married quickly to access healthcare through a spouse or to stay in the country as their visa expiration date nears.
Some counties, including Ventura and San Diego, are offering in-person services and have decided not to develop a teleconference system.
L.A. County plans to roll out a system, but theres no set launch date. It may take until June to get started, county clerk spokesman Mike Sanchez said.
Meanwhile, Riverside Countys first teleconference wedding was held Thursday, according to assistant county Clerk-Recorder Michele Martinez-Barrera.
Orange Countys system is being tested and could roll out next week, Nguyen said.
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Civil Marriage Ceremonies At The County
The County has everything you need for a civil marriage ceremony:
A wedding chapel
Youll need to reserve the chapel in person ceremonies are scheduled for 10-minute blocks of time, Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. You can purchase additional ten-minute blocks for a longer ceremony.
The chapel seats 15 people.
- A wedding official who marries you.
- A witness to the weddingbring a friend or family member to witness the event or, for a fee, the county can provide a witness.
- Wedding rings .
Couples Can Officiate Their Own Wedding In The District Of Columbia
This kind of wedding is legal in a handful of states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, and the marriages are legally recognized everywhere.
WASHINGTON – When he spotted the small white fountain in a downtown area of the District of Columbia, Scott Bovarnick knew. He knew the same way he knew he would marry Lucille Convery after a shared glance years ago on a drive.
“This is pretty,” he said, turning to Convery, 27. She knew what he was really asking.
“Yes, let’s get married here,” she said.
Five minutes later – after Bovarnick, 26, gave a short speech thanking a half-dozen guests, signed a piece of paper and kissed Convery twice – the two were married. Well, almost: They still had to walk back to the nearby H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse to file the paperwork.
Bride, groom, loving onlookers, vows of devotion – all there. But on a sunny Monday morning last week by the Andrew M. Mellon Memorial Fountain, there was no minister, priest, rabbi, judge or third-party officiant in sight.
Bovarnick and Convery, who live in the District of Columbia, opted for what is known as a “self-uniting marriage” – a ceremony in which one member of the couple getting married acts as the officiant. In their case, it was Bovarnick, meaning he signed the light-blue piece of paper provided by D.C. Superior Court.
This kind of wedding is legal in a handful of states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, and the marriages are legally recognized everywhere.
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How To Make Sure Your Zoom Wedding Is Legal
The very first thing you’ll need to do is make sure that a virtual wedding is legal in your county. If your government offices are closed to the public, check the county clerk’s website to find out if a video wedding is legal, and whether or not you’re able to apply for your marriage license online and meet with a county representative on Zoom. “In California and New York, you can apply online and meet with a country representative via video conference,” Helmstetter says, “You and your fiancé have to be present with identification. The actual license will arrive by mail.”
Get A Replacement Licence
You must apply for a replacement licence only if you still wish to get married and:
- you or your future spouse have changed a name or since your unused licence was issued, or
- you no longer have your unused licence
The replacement licence is valid for three months from the date it was issued. Couples should only apply for a replacement within three months of their rescheduled wedding.
When you visit a municipal office to get a replacement licence:
- municipal fees may apply
- there is no provincial fee
- bring your unused licence
- bring your identification documents
- go to the municipality where you originally purchased your licence
If you are unable to go back to the same municipality where you originally purchased your licence, additional time and information may be required to issue a replacement.
Contact your municipality before applying for a replacement for more information.
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Officiating Weddings In California
After getting ordained, your next task is to reach out to the government office where the couple will be applying for their marriage license . Explain that youre ordained through the Universal Life Church and ask them what the requirements are in that area to officiate a wedding ceremony. Marriage officials sometimes ask that you present documentation before they will give the green light to proceed.
Choose the county youd like to contact from the dropdown menu below to see their offices information.
Select your County Clerk to quickly generate the contact information for your local marriage authority.
How To Get An Officiant For A Zoom Wedding
If you already have an officiant in mind, ask them if they’re willing to officiate your Zoom wedding. If you don’t, Ramer recommends looking for reviews from other couples and meeting with the officiant virtually. “There is a lot to be said for the energy exchanged through a great conversation,” she says, “You will know very quickly who is a great fit and who is not.”
If you want someone to be able to marry you in person, Helmstetter recommends asking a loved one to perform the ceremony. “Getting ordained as an officiant is typically a very simple process with a small fee associated,” she says, “Again this varies state by state, but this is one way to make your wedding that much more special and legal at the same time.”
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Conducting The Marriage Ceremony
Texas law does not provide many details about the actual marriage ceremony and how it may be conducted. Instead of regulating what is said or done in a ceremony, the law focuses on time periods within which certain things must be done.
Once a couple obtains a , the law says the following about the ceremony itself:
- There is a 72-hour waiting period between the issuance of a marriage license and the ceremony, with certain exceptions. Section 2.204.
- A marriage license expires if a ceremony isn’t conducted before the 90th day after the license was issued. Section 2.201.
- The officiant must determine whether the license has expired and is prohibited from conducting a ceremony if it is expired. Section 2.207.
- A guide created for county clerks by the Department of State Health Services in 2015 on the best practices to use when issuing marriage licenses. It also offers some answers to common questions about the application process. Information on officiants can be found beginning on page 15. This document is available through the Internet Archive and is no longer being updated. Please check any information in this document for accuracy and completeness.
Everything You Need To Know About Getting Ordained
Consider this your ultimate guide.
So you’ve been tapped to officiate your friend or family member’s wedding. Congrats! It’s clear you’re very important to them. While the couple is most focused on getting an intimate experience at the altar, it’s your job to nail the details. It’s not quite as simple as just being asked, but it’s not too tough either . Use this quick five-step guide to make sure you’ll be an officiant extraordinaire.
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Who Can Perform Wedding Ceremonies In California
Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner was born in Long Beach, California in 1944. The name Marjoe is derived from the religious names of Mary and Joseph. His parents were evangelicals, and at the age of four, arranged for Marjoe to be ordained as a minister. His parents trained him to deliver sermons at religious revival meetings. He was taught to use emphatic gestures and other forms of holy revival techniques and many money-making religious tactics He even officiated at a wedding when he was only four. The ceremony was attended by journalists and photographers fromLife magazine and Paramount Studios invited to attend by Marjoes parents.
In 1971, Marjoe worked with a pair of documentarians in filming how he and some other ministers operated. The documentary film,, was released in 1972, and won the Academy Award for best documentary.
In California, children can no longer officiate at wedding ceremonies. The minimum age to officiate is 18. According to California Family Code Section 400, other qualifications to officiate a wedding are:
The Vatican Says That In Rare Cases A Lay Person May Officiate At A Wedding
It also says that lay faithful can preach at liturgy services, but never can give homilies at Masses.
VATICAN CITY The Vatican said on Monday that in very exceptional circumstances and with special permission, lay Catholics can be allowed to perform marriage rites.
In a document issued by the Holy See office for clergy, the Vatican said that could only happen if there are no priests or deacons available, the nations bishops sign off on the exception and the Holy See OKs it too.
The same document stresses that lay faithful can preach at liturgy services, but never can give homilies at Masses.
The Vatican document said that the local bishop, using his prudent judgment, may entrust to lay faithful in exceptional circumstances such duties including celebrating funeral rites, administering baptism, assisting at marriages with the Holy See’s permission and preaching in a church in case of need.
It noted that where there is a lack of priests and deacons, the diocesan bishop can delegate lay persons to assist at marriages” after the nation’s bishops conference signs off on the decision and the Vatican gives its permission, too.
Under no circumstances, however, may lay people give the homily during the celebration of the Eucharist, said the Congregation for the Clergy.
The document is aimed at encouraging parishes to be more dynamic in carrying out the church’s evangelizing mission and less focused on themselves, as desired by Pope Francis.
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Can Your Friend Or Family Member Officiate Your Wedding
Ordination requirements differ from state to state and even from county to county and city to city. Step one is to do your research and make sure your friend or family member is legally able to officiate your wedding. In some states, for example, a couple doesn’t even need an officiant, while in others, only pastors can perform a wedding.
You’ll want to do your research first to make sure you’re following local state or district rules. For example, in New York City, your officiant will have to register with the court at the city clerk’s office.
Which States Allow Self
There are only a handful of states that have self-solemnization written into their laws. And each state manages the practice slightly differently.
Maine and Nevada allow self-uniting marriages, but only for specific faith groups. In Maine, you must be a member of the Quaker or Bahai faiths. In Nevada, the only allowances to the traditional officiant route are for Quakers and American Indians.
However, in all other states that allow self-uniting marriages, theres more leeway.
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Know Your States Requirements
Each state controls the services of their designated Notary Publics. Notaries looking for a way around this, have one of two options open:
The one-day designation still calls for extra paperwork, so youll need to make sure youre approved prior to the actual wedding day. Otherwise, the marriage could be considered null and void.
What Should Your Officiant Wear
It doesn’t hurt to discuss what your officiant will wear to your ceremony. Remember, they will be front and center along with you and your spouse, which means they’ll be in some of the most important pictures of your life. Make sure they don’t overdress or underdress for the ceremony so that their outfit doesn’t distract from the overall magic of your big moment.
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