Marriage Certificate Requirements
For years, the Cleburne County Probate Office has been a significant part of countless love stories, offering marriage certificates and ceremony services to couples from near and far. However, recent legislative changes have reshaped the way marriage services are provided in Cleburne County and throughout the state of Alabama.
The Evolution of Marriage Services
Under the Alabama Act 2019-340, a pivotal transformation has taken place in the way marriages are handled. As of now, individuals seeking to become married are no longer required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court. Additionally, the courts are no longer issuing marriage licenses. This change applies statewide, affecting all Alabama probate courts. Instead of a marriage license, the emphasis is now on recording marriage certificates.
Applying for a Marriage Certificate
To obtain a marriage certificate, the process is streamlined and straightforward. Couples must obtain a standardized marriage certificate form, either from the state, county probate judge’s office, or online. The form should be fully completed with accurate information about each spouse. Signatures on the form need to be witnessed by a notary, though notary services are not provided by the Probate Office.
Marriage Certificate Requirements in Alabama
Alabama has relaxed several requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate. The legal age for marriage with parental consent is 16, while without parental consent, it’s 18. Same-sex marriages are recognized, and there is no longer a waiting period or blood test requirement. Residency and witnesses are not required, making the process more accessible for couples.
Marriage Residency and Waiting Period Requirements
Unlike some states, Alabama does not have residency requirements for marriage. There is also no waiting period except for individuals who have recently been divorced. In such cases, there is a 60-day waiting period before applying for a new marriage license. Non-residents who wish to be married by a county marriage official may encounter a three-day waiting period.
Previous Marriages and Divorce Decrees
If you have been divorced within the last 6 months of your intended wedding date, you will need to provide a copy of your Divorce Decree. According to Section 30-2-10 of the Alabama Code, there is a 60-day restriction on marrying after a divorce.
Marriage Certificate Fee and Nearby Counties
As of now, the Cleburne County Probate Office no longer offers marriage certificates and ceremony services. However, neighboring counties such as Calhoun, Randolph, and Clay still provide these services.
Name Change After Marriage
Obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name does not automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirements
For individuals aged 16 to 17, parental or guardian consent is required to obtain a marriage certificate. Clear instructions for completing and filing the appropriate forms are provided. Those aged 18 and over have their own marriage certificate form.
Proxy, Cousin, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama, and first and second cousins may legally marry. Additionally, Alabama recognizes common law marriages under specific conditions.
Marriage Officiants in Alabama
Solemnization of a marriage is no longer required for it to be recognized in Alabama. This means that a wedding ceremony may still be performed for the couple, but it is no longer necessary for the marriage to be legally valid.
Expiration and Copy of Marriage Certificate
Marriage certificates are valid for 30 days from the date of being signed. The effective date of the marriage is determined by the date of the spouses’ signatures. For copies of marriage certificates, individuals can contact the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The changes introduced by the Cleburne County Probate Office mark a significant shift in the process of obtaining marriage certificates and conducting ceremonies. As Alabama adapts to these new regulations, couples can still embark on their marital journey with the assurance that their love and commitment will be officially recognized. Remember to stay informed, follow the updated procedures, and create lasting memories as you begin this exciting chapter of your lives together.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can I still get married in Cleburne County? Yes, while the Probate Office no longer issues marriage certificates, you can still marry in Cleburne County and record your marriage certificate.
- Is a waiting period required for all marriages? No, there is no waiting period in Alabama except for individuals who have recently been divorced.
- Can I change my name through a marriage certificate? Obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name does not automatically change your name. You may need to follow a separate process.
- Are blood tests required for marriage in Alabama? No, Alabama no longer requires premarital blood tests.
- Can non-residents marry in Cleburne County? Non-residents can marry in Cleburne County, but there might be a waiting period for ceremonies performed by a county marriage official.