Marriage Certificate Requirements
Welcome to the Bessemer Division in Jefferson County, Alabama! If you are planning to tie the knot and obtain a marriage certificate, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process step by step. We will cover everything you need to know about applying for a marriage certificate, legal requirements, waiting periods, and much more. Let’s dive in!
Alabama Marriage Certificate – A Contractual Agreement
Under Alabama Act 2019-340, couples who wish to marry are no longer required to apply for a marriage license with the county probate court. Instead, they must complete a standardized marriage certificate form, representing a contractual agreement between the parties. This form must be delivered to the probate court for recording, and once recorded, the marriage is valid.
Marriage Certificate Requirements
Legal Age and Parental Consent
In Alabama, the legal age to marry with parental consent is 16, while without parental consent, it is 18. Same-sex marriages are also recognized in the state, and there is no waiting period for obtaining the certificate.
Waiting Period and Certificate Validity
Unlike some states, Alabama does not have a waiting period for most marriages. The marriage certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of being signed.
Blood Test and Residency
Alabama no longer requires a premarital blood test, and there are no residency restrictions for obtaining a marriage certificate.
Witnesses and Solemnization
Witnesses are not required in Alabama, and a wedding ceremony may be performed for the parties, but it is no longer necessary for a recognized marriage in the state.
Changes in Alabama Act 2019-340
Under this act, all Alabama probate courts are required to record marriage certificates instead of issuing marriage licenses. This simplifies the process and eliminates the need for couples to apply for licenses.
Completing the Marriage Certificate Form
Obtaining the Form
Couples can obtain the standardized marriage certificate form from the state, county probate judge’s office, or online.
Form Completion and Notarization
The form must be fully completed by both spouses and then taken to a notary to witness signatures. The probate office does not provide notary services for the form.
Submitting the Form
Once the form is completed and notarized, it should be submitted to the county probate judge’s office for recording. The filing fee varies by county, so it’s essential to check with your local office.
Applicants aged 18 or older must present one of the following forms of identification along with their Social Security card:
- A valid driver’s license
- Non-driver’s license
- Certified copy of birth certificate
- Military identification
- Certified school record
For those aged 16-17, parental or guardian consent is required, and they have specific forms to complete.
Marriage Residency and Waiting Period
There is no residency requirement to marry in Alabama, except for those who want to be married by a county marriage official, which may have a three-day waiting period for non-residents.
Divorce and Previous Marriages
If you have been divorced within the last 6 months, you must show a copy of your Divorce Decree, and there is a 60-day restriction on getting married after a divorce.
Marriage Certificate Fee
The fee for a marriage certificate typically ranges between $40 and $80, and cash is the preferred method of payment.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
A premarital blood test is no longer required in Alabama. If you need to change your last name after marriage, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirements
Marriage certificates for minor parties aged 16-17 require parental or guardian consent.
Proxy, Cousin, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama, and first and second cousins can legally marry. The state also recognizes common law marriages.
Licensed ministers or pastors of recognized religious societies and current or retired Alabama judges can officiate weddings.
Expiration Date of Marriage Certificate
Marriage certificates are valid for 30 days from the date of being signed by both spouses.
Getting a Copy of Marriage Certificate
To get a copy of your marriage certificate, you can contact the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Congratulations on your decision to get married! The process of obtaining a marriage certificate in the Bessemer Division of Jefferson County, Alabama, is now simpler than ever with the changes brought about by Alabama Act 2019-340. Remember to complete the marriage certificate form, follow the identification requirements, and submit it to the county probate judge’s office. With this guide, you’ll be on your way to a legally recognized marriage in Alabama.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Q: Can same-sex couples get married in Alabama? A: Yes, same-sex marriages are recognized in Alabama.
- Q: Is there a waiting period to get married in Alabama? A: In most cases, there is no waiting period for obtaining a marriage certificate in Alabama.
- Q: Do I need a blood test before getting married in Alabama? A: No, a premarital blood test is no longer required in Alabama.
- Q: Can I get married by proxy in Alabama? A: No, proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama.
- Q: How long is the marriage certificate valid in Alabama? A: The marriage certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of being signed by both spouses.