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Story Posted: 3/26/2002 10:42 am

The Legal Lowdown

Neither California nor Nevada requires a blood test or waiting period to apply for a marriage license. Both bride- and groom-to-be must appear in person with valid photo IDs or certified copies of their birth certificates, proving them to be at least 18 years old. They must know their parents' names, mothers' maiden names and places of their birth.

Divorced? Nevada does not need to see divorce papers. However, you must know the year the divorce was final and where the papers were filed. California requires you to bring a copy of your final decree if you have been divorced within the past six months.

Licenses cost $50. The county clerk will not accept checks, so bring cash, travelers' checks or credit cards. Once issued, licenses are valid for 90 days in California, one year in Nevada and may be used anywhere within the state. The exception is California's confidential marriage licenses (see below).

In California, if either party is under 18, at least one of the minor's parents or a legal guardian must appear with the couple. An appointment with a counselor and appearance before a superior court judge must be scheduled.

In Nevada, persons at least 16 but under 18 may marry with the consent of either parent or a legal guardian. Guardians must show a certified court order, showing proof of full legal guardianship. If the parent or guardian cannot be present, a notarized statement of consent will be accepted. A person under 16 may marry with a valid order from the district court. All necessary forms are available at the marriage license counter.

California offers confidential marriage licenses to couples who have lived together as man and wife. These legal documents can be issued by a state notary, but only in the county where the ceremony will be performed. There is no public record of these documents. If you need a copy, both of you must appear and you cannot obtain one by mail. The fee is $65. Where to go:

Carson City Courthouse
885 E. Musser St.
Carson City, NV 89701
775 887-2084

Washoe County Courthouse
75 Court St, Room 131
Reno, NV 89520
775-328-3275

Washoe County Clerk
865 Tahoe Blvd., # 102
Incline Village, NV 89451
775-832-4166

Eldorado County Clerk
3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Suite 108
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96151
530-573-3408

Douglas County Administration Building
175 U.S. Highway 50
Stateline NV 89449
530-581-6300

--or--

Minden Inn
1594 Esmeralda, Room 105
Minden, NV 89432
775-782-9014

Placer County Sheriff's Office
Tahoe City, CA 96145
2501 North Lake Blvd.
775-586-7290

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