Marriage Certificate Requirements
Marriage is a sacred and joyous occasion that marks the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of two individuals. When planning a wedding, there are numerous aspects to consider, one of which is obtaining a marriage certificate. In this article, we will delve into the details of acquiring a marriage certificate in Selma, Alabama, including the associated fees and requirements.
Marriage serves as a union of love, commitment, and partnership between two individuals. The process of legally recognizing a marriage involves obtaining a marriage certificate, a document that validates the union in the eyes of the law. In Selma, Alabama, the Dallas County Probate handles marriage certificates and their associated requirements.
Legal Requirements for Marriage
Legal Age with Parental Consent: 16
In Alabama, individuals as young as 16 can enter into marriage with parental consent. This signifies that couples under the age of 18 can legally marry if their parents or guardians provide their approval.
Legal Age without Parental Consent: 18
For individuals aged 18 and older, parental consent is not necessary. They are legally permitted to marry without any additional approval.
Same-Sex Marriage: Yes
Alabama recognizes and supports same-sex marriages, embracing equality and inclusivity.
Waiting Period: None
Unlike some states, Alabama does not impose a waiting period between obtaining a marriage certificate and getting married. This allows couples to proceed with their plans promptly.
Certificate Validity: 30 Days
Once a marriage certificate is issued, it remains valid for 30 days. Couples must ensure that their wedding ceremony takes place within this timeframe.
Blood Test: Not Required
Alabama has eliminated the requirement for a premarital blood test, streamlining the marriage process.
Residency: Not Required
Couples seeking marriage licenses in Alabama are not required to be residents of the state.
Witnesses: Not Required
Unlike in some states, Alabama does not mandate the presence of witnesses during the marriage ceremony.
Change in Marriage Laws
Thanks to Alabama Act 2019-340, individuals wishing to marry are no longer required to apply for a marriage license through the county probate court. Additionally, Alabama probate courts will now solely record marriage certificates, and the solemnization of marriages is no longer mandatory.
Obtaining a Marriage Certificate
The Role of Alabama Probate Courts
In Alabama, marriage certificates are handled by probate courts. Couples are required to complete the marriage certificate form and submit it to the probate judge’s office.
The Nature of the Alabama Marriage Certificate
The Alabama Marriage Certificate is a legally binding document that signifies a contractual agreement between the marrying parties. Once the form is duly completed by both parties and recorded by the probate court, the marriage becomes legally valid.
Marriage Certificate Requirements
Standardized Marriage Certificate Form
Couples must obtain the standardized marriage certificate form, which can be obtained from the state, county probate judge’s office, or online.
Notarization of Signatures
The completed form must be notarized, meaning that a notary must witness the signatures of both parties.
Submission and Filing Fee
Couples are required to submit the original, fully completed, and notarized form to the county probate judge’s office for recording. The submission should be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee, which varies by county.
The completed and notarized form, along with the filing fee, must be submitted within 30 days of being signed.
Validity of the Marriage
The effective date of the marriage is determined by the dates of the spouses’ signatures. Once the form is properly completed and recorded by the probate court, the marriage becomes legally recognized.
Marriage Certificate Forms
There are specific forms for different applicant groups, including adult applicants and applicants aged 16-17, who require parental or guardian consent.
Accepted Identification for Marriage
Acceptable Identification Documents
To obtain a marriage certificate in Alabama, individuals aged 18 and older must provide one of the following identification documents along with their Social Security card:
- Valid driver’s license
- Non-driver’s license
- Certified copy of birth certificate
- Military identification
- Certified school record
Divorce and Remarriage
If an individual has been divorced, they must wait 60 days after the divorce is finalized before applying for a marriage license, unless they are remarrying their former spouse.
Marriage Residency and Waiting Period
Couples do not need to be residents of Alabama to marry within the state.
Waiting Period Exceptions
While there is no waiting period for most couples in Alabama, non-residents who wish to be married by a county marriage official may face a three-day waiting period. It’s advisable to contact the County Probate office to confirm whether a waiting period applies.
Previous Marriages and Marriage
If an individual has been divorced within six months of their wedding date, they must present a copy of their Divorce Decree. Alabama law imposes a 60-day restriction on marrying after a divorce, as stated in Section 30-2-10 of the Alabama Code.
Marriage Certificate Fee
The Cost of a Marriage Certificate
The fee for obtaining a marriage certificate in Dallas County, Alabama, is $75.00.
Preferred Payment Method
The preferred method of payment for the marriage certificate fee is in cash.
Marriage Blood Test
Blood Test Exemption
A premarital blood test is no longer required in Alabama, simplifying the process of obtaining a marriage certificate.
Marriage Certificate and Name Change
While a marriage certificate with the new name is significant, it doesn’t automatically change an individual’s name. To change their last name, individuals can use an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirements
Minor Parties (Ages 16-17)
Individuals aged 16 to 17 can marry with the consent of a parent or guardian. The new marriage certificate forms provide instructions for this age group.
Parties Aged 18 and Over
Those aged 18 and over can marry without parental consent, simplifying the process for adult couples.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama. Neither party can apply on behalf of the other.
First and second cousins are legally permitted to marry in Alabama.
Common Law Marriages
Alabama recognizes valid common law marriages when specific criteria are met, including the capacity to marry, mutual agreement, public recognition, and consummation.
Solemnization Requirement Changes
Solemnization is no longer obligatory for a recognized marriage in Alabama, offering more flexibility to couples.
Expiration Date of Marriage Certificate
Validity Period of Marriage Certificates
Marriage certificates remain valid for 30 days from the date of signing. The effective date of the marriage is based on the dates of the spouses’ signatures.
Accessing Copies of Marriage Certificates
For those needing copies of their marriage certificates, the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics can provide assistance. The department’s contact information is as follows:
- Address: 434 Monroe St., Montgomery, Alabama 36130-3017
- Phone: 334.613.5300
- Fax: 334.240.3097
Obtaining a marriage certificate is a pivotal step in formalizing the bond between two individuals. Selma, Alabama’s procedures for acquiring a marriage certificate are straightforward, with clear guidelines for various aspects of the process. Whether you’re a resident or non-resident of Alabama, understanding the legal requirements and steps involved in obtaining a marriage certificate is crucial for a smooth and legally recognized union.
- Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage certificate in Alabama?
- There is no waiting period for most couples in Alabama, except for non-residents seeking to be married by a county marriage official.
- Can individuals aged 16-17 marry without parental consent in Alabama?
- No, individuals aged 16-17 require parental or guardian consent to marry in Alabama.
- Are witnesses required during the marriage ceremony in Alabama?
- No, witnesses are not required during the marriage ceremony in Alabama.
- Can same-sex marriages be legally recognized in Alabama?
- Yes, Alabama recognizes and supports same-sex marriages.
- What is the cost of obtaining a marriage certificate in Dallas County, Alabama?
- The cost of a marriage certificate in Dallas County is $75.00.