Marriage Certificate Requirements
In 2019, Alabama passed Act 2019-340, bringing significant changes to the process of getting married in the state. Under this act, individuals looking to marry are no longer required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court. Instead, all Alabama probate courts are now mandated to record marriage certificates. This article will guide you through the new marriage certificate requirements, how to complete the form, the necessary identification, waiting periods, and other essential information.
The Alabama Marriage Certificate
The Alabama Marriage Certificate now serves as a contractual agreement between the parties entering into marriage. Both parties must complete the certificate and submit it to the probate court for recording. Once properly completed and recorded, the marriage is considered valid, without the need for a wedding ceremony or solemnization.
Marriage Certificate Requirement in Alabama
To complete the marriage certificate form, the couple must follow these steps:
Obtain the Form
Obtain a standardized marriage certificate form provided by the state, county probate judge’s office, or through an online source.
Complete the Form
Fill in the form with the same basic information about each spouse that is currently used.
Notarize the Form
Take the marriage certificate form to a notary to witness the signatures. Notary services are not provided by the Probate Office.
Submit the Form
Deliver the original, fully completed, and notarized form to the county Probate Judge’s office for recording, along with the applicable filing fee. The fee varies by county.
The form must be submitted within 30 days of being signed. The effective date of the marriage is the latter of the dates of the signature of the spouses.
Marriage ID Requirement in Alabama
To obtain a marriage certificate in Alabama, individuals 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
- A copy of your birth certificate certified by the State or County
- A military identification
- A certified school record
For those who have been divorced, a 60-day waiting period applies after the divorce is final, unless remarrying the former spouse.
Marriage Residency and Waiting Period Requirement
Residency in Alabama is not a requirement for getting married in the state. Additionally, there is generally no waiting period for marriage, except after a divorce. However, non-residents opting for a county marriage official may have to wait for three days; it is advisable to check with the County Probate office for specific details.
If a divorce occurred within the last six months of the wedding date, a copy of the Divorce Decree must be presented. Alabama Code Section 30-2-10 imposes a sixty (60) day restriction on getting married after a divorce.
Marriage Certificate Fee
The marriage certificate fee in Alabama may vary by county. It is recommended to check with the respective County Probate office for the exact fee. Preferred methods of payment are typically cash.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
As per the new law, Alabama no longer requires a premarital blood test. However, it’s essential to understand that obtaining a marriage certificate with a new name doesn’t automatically change the name legally. If a name change is desired, an online marriage name change kit can be used.
Marriage Age Requirements
For individuals aged 16 to 17, a marriage certificate form must be completed with the consent of a parent or guardian. Specific instructions for minors are included in the form.
For parties aged 18 and above, a separate marriage certificate form is used.
Proxy Marriages and Cousin Marriages
Proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama. Additionally, Alabama law permits first and second cousins to marry legally.
Common Law Marriages
Alabama recognizes valid common law marriages if certain conditions are met, including capacity to marry, mutual consent, public recognition, and consummation.
The new law no longer requires solemnization for a recognized marriage in Alabama.
The Alabama Act 2019-340 has significantly changed the process of getting married in the state. With the elimination of marriage license applications, all Alabama probate courts now record marriage certificates. By following the outlined steps and requirements, couples can ensure their marriage is legally recognized.
Q1: Can I still have a wedding ceremony in Alabama under the new law? Yes, a wedding ceremony may be performed for the parties, but it is no longer required for a recognized marriage in Alabama.
Q2: Are there any waiting periods for getting married in Alabama? There is no waiting period in Alabama, except for those who have been divorced. In such cases, there is a 60-day waiting period after the divorce is final.
Q3: Can I marry my first cousin in Alabama? Yes, first and second cousins may legally marry in Alabama.
Q4: Is a premarital blood test required in Alabama? No, Alabama no longer requires a premarital blood test.
Q5: What should I do if I need to change my last name after marriage? Obtaining a marriage certificate with a new name on it does not automatically change your name legally. To change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.