If my parents believed they were married for 30 years but never obtain marriage certificate, what should they do now?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my parents believed they were married for 30 years but never obtain marriage certificate, what should they do now?

My parents had a marriage ceremony over 30 years ago and believed that that they

have been married since. However, they just realized they have never applied for

a marriage license to obtain a marriage certificate, should they just apply for

certificate now? What are there options? They’ve been tax filing as married for many years.

Asked on November 18, 2018 under Family Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

So I would not panic yet but I would go and speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The case law that I have found deals with applying but never filing the liceses after the ceremony took place. More than likely they are going to be ok but there should ask as well about a California Health and Safety Code section (§103450) that specifically allows for a party to bring an action requesting an order judicially establishing the fact of, and time and place of, the marriage. The definition of a party includes: “[a] member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business.” Health and Safety Code 103526(c)(2)(C).  Good luck.

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