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Can a confidential marriage license be found by the county…

Please. Can a confidential...

Please. Can a confidential marriage license be found by the county recorder if officially requested?

Lawyer's Assistant: We keep all your personally identifiable information confidential and even have people that double check to make sure something doesn't slip through. Your question goes out to the Family Lawyer's and then gets published with the answer to help others with similar problems.

I am wondering because my husband and I got married almost 25 years ago. The wedding was a disaster! To make a long story short I checked with the county recorder a few years after and they found no record of our marriage. So we had our vows renewed. But I don’t think that is legally the same now that I think of it, because we filed no paperwork with the courts. Are we legally married?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?

We checked with the official county recorder of Orange County, Ca because that is where we’re were married. He sent us a certificate of search which said no marriage records were found.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?

No. Just asking you

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Is this free?!!

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Answered in 1 minute by:
1/11/2018
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 103,582
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Verified

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. (You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.)

If the request is by a law enforcement agency, then yes. Otherwise, the answer is no.

"I STRIVE FOR FIVE!" My goal is to answer your question to your satisfaction. Please rate with five stars (★★★★★) and click SEND. It does not cost anything extra to rate. You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars. Rating my answer the bottom two stars or failing to submit the rating reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. If you are not satisfied for whatever reason, or, have follow up questions, please simply reply with SEND before or after rating and let's continue to chat until you are satisfied. This is what I am here for.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I sent a request for my marriage license and the official county recorder couldn’t find it. I don’t recall if we did a confidential marriage license or not. How do I know if I am legally married or not? (Our wedding capitan was a flake)
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Hello?

Ah... very interesting! Well, you can check the record lawfully. If they FIND it, you know you had a marriage, but not confidential.

If you had a CONFIDENTIAL marriage, then they will come back to tell you it EXISTS but nothing else. California Family Code Section 511(c) states:

The county clerk may conduct a search for a confidential
marriage certificate for the purpose of confirming the existence of a
marriage
, but the date of the marriage and any other information
contained in the certificate shall not be disclosed except upon order
of the court. [You will have to clarify that to the clerk - their knee-jerk reaction may be to simply deny.]

If they come back with nothing, chances are, you are not married in CA.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
the certificate of search document stating a marriage could not be found between such and such dates for us may not be accurate? Or would they have written “exists”? I must call? And if after 25 years (lived in another state now) the marriage has not be legal, what do legal advise do,you,have?
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Stupid keyboard-sorry for errors

So the certificate of search document stating a marriage could not be found between such and such dates for us may not be accurate?

Correct. We do not know if the clerk took California Family Code Section 511(c) into consideration. Also we do not know if they believed that you were one of the parties (normally a party to the marriage can confirm the confidential marriage and its facts but only if they confirm their identity at time of request; sorry I should have explained that).

So it is BEST to call the clerk of the county, explain who you are, fax/send over proof of ID, and have them check.

If your marriage turns out to be LEGAL, then you may wish to file for divorce.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
No no - I’m happily married. I am just concerned this may legally hit us with IRS or god forbid one of us dies

As long as you have been filing as married, it should not make a difference provided that the county confirms your marriage license. And if you are NOT married, then provided that the filing was done in good faith, I do not believe that the IRS will slam the book down and it can be fixed retroactively with a good CPA/tax preparer.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 103,582
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Verified
Ely and 87 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you for your time and help. 5 stars!

Sure thing. Good luck. If you care to, come back and let me know what you find...!

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Hi Ely,
So the county recorder informed me the search for my marriage certificate also included confidential marriage - so no file had been found. Now what? I’ve read contradictory articles on whether or not we are legally married. Some say yes - if you had a ceremony (our officiant was a Capitan - but our boat had technical difficulties and did not sail 50 miles off shore- we stayed in the slip and didn’t move), others say you need to just go to the court refile and fill out the proper paperwork. No big deal but I don’t want to open a can of worms by maybe alerting the IRS to a problem if we get married again when we don’t have to. But then again what happens should something terrible happen to one of us? (FYI: everything has been legal over the years we have filed but we are not rich people and I fear there may be a penalty fee involved?)

1) As I understand it, your officiator never returned the signed marriage certificate to the clerk, then. Correct?

2) After the event/marriage in CA, in what states have you lived since that time 25 years ago, and for how long in each state? Please be specific.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
1) yes
2) California: 12 years; Oregon: 9 years; Virginia: 2 years; Singapore: 2 years

Thank you. See HERE. A very similar case. If someone in your situation wants to retroactively confirm the wedding as being lawful from the very beginning, someone in your situation has to do is to file a special pleading with the Court and have two witnesses to confirm the marriage. This may be hard to do. The point of this would be to ensure that the IRS and SSA records match and state that you were married from the very beginning.

Alternatively, you can (re)marry, but the marriage would only count going forward.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Okay. How do I file a special pleading? Do we need to hire a lawyer to do this? Also do the witnesses need to be present or will a signed notary letter do and the wedding video and pictures?
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Also does it need to be done in CA since that’s where we got married? ...er not??!

While an attorney is not mandatory, one is highly recommended. This would be a complex proceeding and I cannot begin to tell you how to file via this medium. It would be complicated. Witnesses are needed; not just affidavits. It would have to be done in CA.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you again Ely - you’ve been awesome. Have a great day!

My pleasure.

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