Baldwin County Marriage Certificate Requirements
In 2019, Alabama enacted Act 2019-340, bringing significant changes to the process of obtaining and recording marriage certificates. This act revolutionized the way couples enter into matrimony in Alabama, eliminating the need for marriage licenses and solemnization. Instead, the Alabama Marriage Certificate now serves as a binding agreement between the parties, recorded by the probate court. In this article, we will explore the new requirements and processes involved in obtaining an Alabama Marriage Certificate.
The Evolution of Marriage Certificates in Alabama
The Old Way: Marriage Licenses and Solemnization
In the past, individuals who wanted to marry in Alabama were required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court. Upon approval, the court would issue a marriage license, allowing the wedding ceremony to take place. After the ceremony, the marriage officiant would solemnize the marriage, making it legally recognized.
The New Way: Alabama Marriage Certificate
Under Act 2019-340, the traditional concept of marriage licenses and solemnization has been replaced by the Alabama Marriage Certificate. Now, couples no longer need to apply for a marriage license. Instead, they must complete a standardized marriage certificate form, which serves as the contract between the parties.
Obtaining an Alabama Marriage Certificate
Obtain the Standardized Marriage Certificate Form
To begin the process, couples must obtain the standardized marriage certificate form. This form can be acquired from the state, county probate judge’s office, or online.
Complete the Form
Both parties must fully complete the marriage certificate form. The form requests basic information about each spouse, similar to the details previously required for a marriage license.
After completing the form, the couple must take it to a notary to witness their signatures. Notary services are not provided by the probate office.
Record the Marriage Certificate
The original, fully completed, and notarized form must be delivered to the county probate judge’s office for recording. Each county may have different filing fees, which should be paid at the time of submission. It is essential to submit the form within 30 days of being signed.
Effective Date of Marriage
The effective date of the marriage is determined by the latter of the dates of the spouses’ signatures on the marriage certificate.
Requirements and Considerations
Marriage ID Requirement
For individuals aged 18 or older, a valid driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, copy of the birth certificate, military identification, or certified school record, along with the Social Security card, is required to obtain an Alabama Marriage Certificate.
Marriage Waiting Period
Alabama does not impose a waiting period for marriage, except for individuals who have been divorced. After a divorce, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period before remarrying.
If a person was divorced within the last six months before their wedding date, they must show a copy of their Divorce Decree. The Alabama Code states a 60-day restriction on getting married after a divorce.
Marriage Certificate Fee
The marriage certificate fee varies by county. For instance, in Baldwin County, it amounts to $70. It is recommended to pay in cash.
Marriage Blood Test
A premarital blood test is no longer required in Alabama.
Obtaining a marriage certificate with a new name does not automatically change one’s name. A separate name change process is required.
Marriage Age Requirements
Applicants aged 18 and over may apply using the marriage certificate form for adult parties. Minor parties aged 16 to 17 years require the consent of a parent or guardian, and specific instructions for completing and filing the forms apply.
Proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama.
First and second cousins may legally marry in Alabama.
Common Law Marriages
Alabama recognizes common law marriages when certain criteria are met, such as capacity to enter into a marriage, agreement or consent to be husband and wife, public recognition of the marriage, and consummation.
With the implementation of Act 2019-340, Alabama has transformed its marriage process, moving away from traditional marriage licenses and solemnization. Now, the Alabama Marriage Certificate serves as the legally binding agreement between spouses. Couples must follow the outlined steps to obtain their marriage certificate, ensuring their union is officially recognized by the probate court.
- Is a waiting period required for all marriages in Alabama? No, there is no waiting period in Alabama except for individuals who have been divorced. They must wait 60 days after their divorce is final before remarrying.
- Do I need a premarital blood test to get married in Alabama? No, a premarital blood test is no longer required in Alabama.
- Can I change my name through the marriage certificate? No, obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name does not automatically change your name. You need to follow a separate name change process.
- Can first cousins marry in Alabama? Yes, first and second cousins may legally marry in Alabama.
- Is solemnization required for a recognized marriage in Alabama? No, solemnization is no longer required for a recognized marriage in Alabama.