Marriage Certificate Requirements
Under Alabama Act 2019-340, significant changes have been made to the process of obtaining a marriage certificate in the state. This article discusses the new requirements, procedures, and important information for individuals planning to get married in Alabama. We will explore the changes in the marriage certificate process, the documentation needed, and the responsibilities of the couple seeking marriage. Let’s dive into the details.
The Alabama Marriage Certificate Process
The Alabama Marriage Certificate, which represents a contractual agreement between the parties to the marriage, has undergone significant changes under Act 2019-340. Previously, individuals were required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court, and the courts would issue marriage licenses. However, this is no longer the case.
Recording Marriage Certificates
Instead of issuing marriage licenses, all Alabama probate courts are now required to record marriage certificates. The couple seeking marriage must complete the standardized marriage certificate form provided by the state, county probate judge’s office, or online.
Completing the Marriage Certificate Form
To complete the marriage certificate form, the couple needs to provide the same basic information about each spouse that was previously required for marriage licenses. Once the form is fully completed, it must be taken to a notary to witness the signatures. Notary services for the form are not provided by the Probate Office.
Submitting the Form to the Probate Judge’s Office
The original, fully completed, and notarized form must be delivered to the county Probate Judge’s office for recording. It is essential to include the filing fee specific to that county, as the fee may vary. The form must be submitted within 30 days of being signed by both parties.
Validity of the Marriage
The effective date of the marriage is the latter of the dates of the signature of the spouses. Once properly completed and recorded by the probate court, the marriage is legally recognized in Alabama. It is crucial for couples to ensure that all information is legible and the document is properly recorded.
For individuals aged 18 and older, obtaining a marriage certificate in Alabama requires one of the following forms of identification, along with the Social Security card:
- A valid driver’s license
- Non-driver’s license
- A copy of the birth certificate certified by the State or County
- A military identification
- A certified school record
If an individual has been divorced, there is a 60-day waiting period after the divorce is final before applying for a new marriage license, unless they are remarrying their former spouse.
Residency and Waiting Period
Alabama does not require individuals to be residents of the state to get married. There is generally no waiting period for marriage, except for individuals who have been divorced. However, non-residents who want to be married by a county marriage official may have to wait for three days. It is essential to contact the County Probate office to verify whether or not there will be a waiting period.
Previous Marriages and Cousins Marriage
If an individual was divorced within the last six months before the wedding date, they will need to show a copy of their Divorce Decree. Additionally, Alabama permits first and second cousins to legally marry.
Common Law Marriages
Alabama recognizes a valid common law marriage when certain conditions are met, including capacity to enter into a marriage, a present agreement or consent to be husband and wife, public recognition of the existence of the marriage, and consummation.
Changes to Officiants
Under the new act, solemnization is no longer required for a recognized marriage in Alabama. This means that a wedding ceremony may be performed for the parties, but it is not necessary for the marriage to be legally valid.
Expiration Date of Marriage Certificates
Marriage certificates are now valid for 30 days from the date of being signed. The effective date of the marriage is the latter of the dates of the signature of the spouses.
In conclusion, Alabama Act 2019-340 has brought significant changes to the process of obtaining a marriage certificate in the state. The shift from marriage licenses to recording marriage certificates has simplified the procedure for couples. It is essential for individuals planning to get married in Alabama to follow the new requirements and guidelines to ensure a smooth and legally recognized marriage.
- Do we still need a marriage license in Alabama? No, under Act 2019-340, the state no longer issues marriage licenses. Instead, marriage certificates are recorded by the probate courts.
- What identification is required to obtain a marriage certificate? Individuals aged 18 and older must provide a valid driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, certified birth certificate, military identification, or certified school record, along with their Social Security card.
- Is there a waiting period for getting married in Alabama? There is generally no waiting period, except for individuals who have been divorced. Non-residents may have to wait for three days if they want to be married by a county marriage official.
- Can first cousins marry in Alabama? Yes, first and second cousins may legally marry in Alabama.
- Is a common law marriage recognized in Alabama? Yes, Alabama recognizes a valid common law marriage when certain conditions are met.