Confidential Marriage Law and Legal Definition

In some jurisdictions, a marriage between a man and a woman where only the two parties and the officiant are present at the ceremony, is known as confidential marriage. California is an example of such a state. Confidential marriages are recorded in nonpublic records. Although rarely performed, they are generally legal. To obtain a confidential marriage, both the parties should be at least 18 years of age, must be of the opposite sex, and usually should have lived together for an extended period. In ecclesiastical law, such a marriage is termed an occult marriage or, if such marriage is performed in the strictest secrecy, it is known as a marriage of conscience. Only few states provide for confidential marriages. Confidential marriages allow parties who have been living as husband and wife in a jurisdiction that does not recognize informal marriages to achieve marital status without publicity.