Marriage Certificate Requirements
Getting married is a momentous occasion, filled with joy and anticipation for the future. However, before you can embark on this journey, there are certain legal formalities that need to be addressed. One of these important steps is obtaining a marriage certificate. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through all the essential details about marriage certificates in Alabama, from the fees involved to the requirements and procedures. Let’s dive in!
Marriage is a legally binding contract, and a marriage certificate serves as official documentation of this commitment. In Alabama, the process of obtaining a marriage certificate has undergone recent changes, streamlining the procedure and making it more accessible.
Applying for a Marriage Certificate
To apply for a marriage certificate in Alabama, couples are no longer required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court. Instead, both parties must complete a standardized marriage certificate form provided by the state, county probate judge’s office, or online. This form captures essential information about each spouse.
Legal Requirements for Marriage
The legal age for marriage in Alabama is 18 without parental consent. However, if you are 16 or 17 years old, you can still marry with parental consent.
Alabama recognizes and permits same-sex marriages, ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all couples.
Waiting Period and Certificate Validity
Unlike some states, Alabama does not have a waiting period for marriage after obtaining a divorce. Once you have your marriage certificate, it is valid for 30 days from the date of being signed.
Blood Test and Residency
The good news is that Alabama no longer requires a premarital blood test, making the process simpler for couples. Additionally, there is no residency requirement, so you do not need to be a resident of Alabama to marry in the state.
Unlike in some other states, Alabama does not require witnesses for your marriage ceremony.
Changes in Alabama Marriage Laws
Recent changes in Alabama law (Alabama Act 2019-340) have eliminated the need for a marriage license and application. Instead, all Alabama probate courts are now required to record marriage certificates, making the process more straightforward.
Completing the Marriage Certificate Form
When completing the marriage certificate form, it’s crucial to provide accurate and complete information about each spouse. The form must be fully completed and notarized before submission.
To obtain a marriage certificate, you need to provide valid identification, such as a driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, certified copy of your birth certificate, military identification, or a certified school record. If you have been divorced, there is a 60-day waiting period after your divorce is final before you can apply for a new marriage certificate.
Marriage Residency and Waiting Period
Alabama does not have a waiting period for most couples. However, non-residents who wish to be married by a county marriage official may have to wait three days. Be sure to check with your local County Probate office for specific details.
Divorce and Previous Marriages
If you have been divorced within the last 6 months of your wedding date, you must show a copy of your Divorce Decree. According to Section 30-2-10 of the Alabama Code, there is a 60-day restriction on getting married after a divorce.
Marriage Certificate Fee
The fee for obtaining a marriage certificate in Chilton County, Alabama, is $75.25. The preferred method of payment is cash.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
As mentioned earlier, a premarital blood test is no longer required in Alabama. If you wish to change your last name after marriage, additional steps are needed beyond obtaining the marriage certificate.
Marriage Age Requirements
For minor parties aged 16 to 17 years, a marriage certificate form is available, but parental or guardian consent is required. Individuals aged 18 and over can complete a different marriage certificate form.
Proxy, Cousin, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama. However, first and second cousins may legally marry. Alabama also recognizes common law marriages under specific conditions.
Solemnization and Wedding Officiants
Solemnization is no longer required for a recognized marriage in Alabama. Couples have the freedom to choose a wedding officiant who aligns with their beliefs and preferences.
Expiration Date of Marriage Certificate
Remember that marriage certificates are valid for 30 days from the date of being signed. The effective date of the marriage is determined by the signature dates of the spouses.
Obtaining a Copy of Marriage Certificate
If you need a copy of your marriage certificate, you can contact the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics. Their office is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and you can reach them by phone or fax.
In conclusion, obtaining a marriage certificate in Alabama involves a straightforward process with specific requirements and fees. These changes in marriage laws have made the process more accessible and convenient for couples. Remember to follow the outlined steps to ensure a smooth and legally recognized union.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can out-of-state couples get married in Alabama?
- Yes, non-residents can marry in Alabama, but there may be a waiting period for certain couples.
- Is a wedding ceremony required for a recognized marriage in Alabama?
- No, solemnization is no longer required for a recognized marriage in the state.
- Can I change my last name on the marriage certificate?
- While your new last name can be included on the marriage certificate, changing your legal name requires additional steps.
- What is the fee for a marriage certificate in Chilton County, Alabama?
- The fee for a marriage certificate in Chilton County is $75.25, payable in cash.
- How long is a marriage certificate valid in Alabama?
- A marriage certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of being signed by both spouses.