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Marrying Someone Who is Unable to Come to the County Clerk’s Office to Apply for a Marriage License?

If you wish to marry a person who is unable to physically appear at the County Clerk’s Office to apply for his/her marriage license due to illness, incarceration in the Santa Cruz County Jail, or some other reason, you must do the following:

The person solemnizing the marriage along with the party to the marriage who can appear, must physically present the completed form along with proof of inability to appear to the County Clerk at the time the marriage license is issued (Family Code Sections 426(a); 502(a))  Acceptable proof of inability to appear is:

  • For medical/hospitalization reasons: a note on doctor’s or hospital letterhead with original signature from physician or registered nurse.
  • Proof of incarceration: booking printout.

The signature of the person who is physically unable to appear in person at the County Clerk’s Office must be authenticated by a Notary Public or a Court prior to the County Clerk issuing the marriage license (Family Code Sections 426(a); 502(a))

The notary public who has authenticated the signature of the person who is unable to appear is prohibited from also being the person solemnizing the marriage. (Government Code Section 8224(a))

At the time of application for the marriage license (confidential or public) the person solemnizing the marriage, and the party to the marriage who appears, must present valid government issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, state issued identification card, passport, matricula, etc.  

  •  A copy of the identification of the person who is unable to appear must also be provided at the time of application.  For incarcerated individuals, if no government issued ID is available, you may present a copy of the individuals jail ID along with a copy of their birth certificate (FC Section 354).

The fee for the marriage license is $90.  Payment must be by cash or check payable to the Santa Cruz County Clerk.  Credit and debit payments are not accepted in this office.

After payment of the required fees, the County Clerk will issue the marriage license to the person solemnizing the marriage.  The person solemnizing the marriage shall obtain the signature on the marriage license of the person who is unable to appear.

Other Important Information:

  • The parties to the marriage will have to make all the arrangements for their ceremony.  
  • If one of the parties to the marriage is currently incarcerated in the Santa Cruz County Jail, the jail staff should be contacted to be sure the marriage ceremony will be allowed.  Judges no longer perform marriage ceremonies in the courts for incarcerated persons.  
  • No refunds are issued for marriage licenses that are not or cannot be used.