Marriage Certificate Requirements
In 2019, Alabama made significant changes to the process of getting married. Under Alabama Act 2019-340, couples are no longer required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court, and the courts no longer issue marriage licenses. Instead, the state introduced the Alabama Marriage Certificate, which represents a contractual agreement between the parties to the marriage, completed and recorded by the probate court. In this article, we will explore the new marriage certificate requirements, the process of obtaining one, and other essential details to help couples navigate this new system.
The Alabama Marriage Certificate
The Alabama Marriage Certificate serves as the legal document that validates a marriage. Unlike the traditional marriage license, couples no longer need to apply for it. Instead, they complete a standardized marriage certificate form provided by the state or county probate judge’s office.
Completing the Marriage Certificate Form
To obtain the Alabama Marriage Certificate, a couple must fully complete the marriage certificate form, which requests basic information about each spouse. This information is similar to what was previously required for a marriage license application.
Notarization and Submission
Once the form is completed, the couple must take it to a notary to witness their signatures. Notary services are not provided by the Probate Office. After the form is notarized, the original, fully completed, and notarized form, along with the filing fee, must be delivered to the county Probate Judge’s office for recording.
It is essential to submit the form within 30 days of being signed. The effective date of the marriage is the latter of the dates of the spouses’ signatures. Once properly completed and recorded by the probate court, the marriage becomes legally valid.
Marriage Certificate Requirements for Minors
For applicants aged 16-17, additional steps are necessary. They must obtain the document for applicants aged 16-17 and require the consent of a parent or guardian to enter into marriage.
Identification and Residency Requirements
To obtain a marriage certificate in Alabama, individuals must provide identification such as a valid driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, copy of their birth certificate, military identification, or a certified school record. Alabama does not have a residency requirement for marriage.
Waiting Period and Divorce Restrictions
There is generally no waiting period in Alabama except for those who have been divorced. Couples cannot apply for a marriage license within 60 days after their divorce is final. Additionally, if you were divorced within the last 6 months of your wedding date, you will need to show a copy of your Divorce Decree.
Cousin Marriages and Common Law Marriages
Alabama permits first and second cousins to marry legally. Furthermore, the state recognizes common law marriages under specific conditions, including capacity, agreement, public recognition, and consummation.
Proxy Marriages and Blood Tests
Proxy marriage is not permitted in Alabama, and there is no longer a requirement for premarital blood tests.
Solemnization is no longer required for a recognized marriage in Alabama. Couples can choose to have a wedding ceremony, but it is not mandatory for a marriage to be legally recognized.
The implementation of Alabama Act 2019-340 brought significant changes to the marriage process in the state. The traditional marriage license has been replaced by the Alabama Marriage Certificate, simplifying the procedure for couples. By understanding the requirements, completing the necessary forms, and adhering to the guidelines, couples can now legally marry without the need for a marriage license.
1. Can we still have a wedding ceremony?
Yes, you can still have a wedding ceremony, but it is no longer required for a marriage to be legally recognized in Alabama.
2. How long is the Alabama Marriage Certificate valid?
Marriage certificates are valid for 30 days from the date of being signed.
3. Can non-residents get married in Alabama?
Yes, non-residents can get married in Alabama.
4. Is a premarital blood test required?
No, Alabama no longer requires a premarital blood test.
5. Can first cousins marry in Alabama?
Yes, first cousins may legally marry in Alabama.