image by Jason Mark Photography, 2008
MARRIAGE LEGAL INFORMATION
- Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk County marriage license info and an email link for your questions. You can try the interminable but informative recording for the Norwalk office at 562.462.2137, but here's a hot tip: call one of the satellite offices to up your chances of getting a live person right away. Try the LAX office at 310.727.6142, but you didn't hear it from me.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services This is the official U.S. government website--beware of imposters who want to charge you for this information! Go here for info on citizenship and naturalization, fees and services, and to download the latest forms for free (downloading old versions of forms from commercial websites could cause your application to be delayed or denied.)
- INS Experts An online service where, if you qualify, you can fill out INS forms online without a lawyer. (We highly recommend using an AILA attorney for your immigration needs; please see link below.)
- The American Immigration Lawyers Association Immigration fraud abounds, as do faux immigration attorneys who don't really specialize in immigration law and who will happily take your money, mess up your application, and then disappear. You can avoid immigration scammers by hooking up with an AILA attorney. Check out Aila.Org for a referral link for info on certified immigration attorneys in your area.
- County of Los Angeles Adoption Services This unit assists with step-parent adoptions; the webpage provides you with information about services available and what documents are required. You can call them at (213) 639-4750 or (213) 639-4751 for more information.
- Social Security Administration SS-5 Form Download the forms and necessary information for changing your name on your Social Security card. You'll need to do this before you can get a new California driver's license in your married name!
- California State Notary Authentication, Apostille, and Certification Information The California Secretary of State provides authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the United States of America. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification. If you are coming here from another country to be married, check with your local authorities about whether you'll need to obtain an apostille for your marriage license to be accepted and recorded by your government. You can read more about how to obtain an apostille by clicking the link above, or by calling our local L.A. Secretary of State's branch office: 213.897.3062.
- Marriage Equality California: Civil Marriage For Everyone It's an exciting time in California as activist groups attempt to redefine the requirements for civil marriage and assure equal access to marriage rights for everyone. If you'd like to know more about the issues around civil marriage vs. civil unions, check out MarriageEqualityCA.org for downloadable educational materials, email updates on current happenings, and a link for online contributions. (If you're planning a celebration of your union, check out GayRites.Net for links to gay-friendly wedding services.)
- California Coalition for Compassionate Care Excuse me for bringing up a seemingly grim point about marriage, but it is important to realize that one of the duties of being a loving spouse is understanding and embracing the complexities of end-of-life care for your Beloved. The Terry Schiavo case has recently brought to national attention the importance of written advance directives for health care; California Coalition for Compassionate Care offers free downloadable California Advance Directive forms in English, Chinese, and Spanish. Don't wait until "death do us part" becomes imminent to discuss your options and wishes with your loved ones! By the way, MarriageToGo clients can receive notarization of their completed Advance Directives at nominal cost as a thank-you for choosing our services ("nominal cost" meaning a few bucks to cover gas or some cookies and tea. Yes, we feel that strongly about it.)
- Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors--Permits For Beach Events Each beach in the L.A. area has different permit requirements depending on whether it's overseen by its neighboring city, the State, or L.A. County, but you can get most permits through the County Department of B&H. You should check to see if you need a permit for any beach event if you're planning on having more than 30 guests or if you want to set up chairs, risers, arches, have amplified music, catering, commercial photography, and the like--you know, wedding stuff. You can apply online at the Beaches and Harbors website, or call them for more info at 310.574.6756 or 310.305.9543. Be advised: they almost never pick up the phone so leave a message and a number where they can call you back.
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