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  1. #1

    Default What to Do if Your Marriage License Was Never Recorded

    My question involves marriage law for the State of: California

    Because of a quickly looming company transfer, my husband (very recently deceased) and I were married in a civil ceremony at the Long Beach Courthouse in 1992. The marriage was officiated by the County Clerk and we went on our merry way for the next 26 years. Since his death last month, I have looked everywhere for our marriage certificate and have been unable to find it. I have sent off to the County of Los Angeles both for a Public Certificate and a Confidential Certificate because I could not remember which one we had gotten. Both came back "unable to find"!!!.

    I am now really confused about where to go from here. I am starting to believe (sadly) that it was never recorded. We were married on a week day morning so I'm wondering if one can search in person of all marriages that day...thinking that maybe there has been a typo or something else that went wrong.

    I can't seem to get much help from the Recorders office. Do I need to get an Attorney and what kind of practice would this fall under.

    The problem is with Social Security. They need the Certificate so that I can receive my Husbands benefit which is about $300.00 higher than my own.

    I would greatly appreciate any advice or help to move forward.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: What to Do if Your Marriage License Was Never Recorded

    Exactly what can the court find in relation to your case. Do they have records that reflect that the ceremony occurred? Do they have a court file and, if so, have you found out what is in the file?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: What to Do if Your Marriage License Was Never Recorded

    When you got married. Did you change your name on your social security number ? You had to have proof of the marriage to do that.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What to Do if Your Marriage License Was Never Recorded

    Thank you for responding. Yes, I have a Social Security Card with my married name but when I spoke with Social Security, they looked up both my husband and myself and could find nothing to tie us together.

    I'm absolutely devastated to not only lose my husband to cancer but to find out that it appears that the legality of our marriage is in question.

    Maybe I'm asking the wrong questions. I understand that if the County cannot find the record...they can't find it- and a Court can't make them find it. But how do I make things right? We believed we were married, we have shared everything a married couple shares...finances, housing, cars, life, death..everything.

    I assume this has happened before but what should I do next? I have been reading a bit online that it may be possible to be probated? And the Court can recognize the marriage? I'm worried that I am going to need an Attorney but not sure what field of practice....Family Law?

    I really do appreciate any help or advice and I will call Social Security again on Monday to ask them how I was able to get a new SS card without proof. Part of my problem is that it has been 26 years and the one person I could count on to know the answer is gone ....and I don't remember.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: What to Do if Your Marriage License Was Never Recorded

    This is a long shot at best and I know it. In fact, it's such a long shot I'm almost embarrassed to be mentioning it. But it's all I can come up with at this particular moment.

    Where I work, in order to cover a dependent on the health insurance we provide to our employees, we require that they provide proof that the individual is related to them. There are a number of reasons for this but the reasons are irrelevant. The point is that the document we receive most often as proof to cover a spouse, is a marriage certificate.

    We have been asked before now to provide photocopies of the documents that had, in turn, previously been provided to us. "I need a copy of my kid's birth certificate for school and I can't get home in time - do you have a copy?" sort of thing.

    IF one or the other of you provided health insurance to the other AND it was through your (or his) employer AND the employer has the same rule we do (we are not unique but it is not universal either) then POSSIBLY your (or his) employer might have a copy in your personnel file.

    It's worth asking. It probably won't help, but it's worth asking.

    And I meant to add, and got caught up in the breadcrumbs, I'm very sorry for the loss of your husband. That's a hard thing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: What to Do if Your Marriage License Was Never Recorded

    Be sure you call your local SSA Office. Ask to speak to your caseworker. Or your caseworkers supervisor. Do not call the toll free number for SSA. They have access to limited information.

    Was your husband receiving Social Security Benefits ? If he was he should have listed you on his application?.The same thing applies to you. If you are receiving Social Security Benefits. You should have listed him as your spouse.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What to Do if Your Marriage License Was Never Recorded

    Thank you so much for the advice. I will go to the Social Security office this week and hopefully speak with someone. I really appreciate your taking the time to help me....I'm hoping for the best.

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