Marriage Certificate Requirements
If you’re considering tying the knot in Franklin County, Alabama, understanding the details about marriage certificate fees and requirements is essential. A marriage certificate is a crucial document that legalizes your union, and each county has its own procedures and regulations. In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of obtaining a marriage certificate in Franklin County, Alabama, covering various aspects such as fees, requirements, and important information to keep in mind.
Applying for a Marriage Certificate
Legal Age Requirements
In Franklin County, Alabama, individuals can apply for a marriage certificate if they meet certain age requirements. Those with parental consent can apply at the age of 16, while those without parental consent must be at least 18 years old. This ensures that both parties entering into marriage are legally capable of making such a decision.
Alabama recognizes same-sex marriages, allowing all couples, regardless of their gender, to legally unite. This inclusivity ensures that couples of all orientations have the same rights when it comes to marriage.
Waiting Period and Validity
Unlike some states, Alabama does not impose a waiting period for marriage certificates. Additionally, the certificate remains valid for 30 days from the date it’s signed, giving couples ample time to plan their wedding celebrations.
Blood Test and Residency
Gone are the days of mandatory blood tests for marriage in Alabama. The state has abolished this requirement, making the process simpler and less intrusive. Moreover, there’s no residency requirement, meaning you don’t have to be a resident of Alabama to get married within its borders.
Witnesses Not Required
Unlike some states where witnesses are necessary for a marriage to be legal, Alabama does not require witnesses. This streamlined approach ensures a smoother process for couples seeking to wed.
Changes Under Alabama Act 2019-340
In recent years, Alabama made significant changes regarding marriage licenses. Under Alabama Act 2019-340, couples are no longer required to apply for a marriage license. Instead, they complete a standardized marriage certificate form, which is then recorded by the county probate court. This change aims to simplify the process while still ensuring the validity of marriages.
The Role of Marriage Officiants
Solemnization, the formal declaration of marriage, is no longer obligatory for a recognized marriage in Alabama. This means that while couples may still choose to have a wedding ceremony officiated by a religious or secular figure, it’s not a legal requirement for the marriage to be valid.
The Marriage Certificate Form
Obtaining the Form
To begin the marriage certificate process, couples need to obtain a standardized marriage certificate form. These forms can be acquired from the state, the county probate judge’s office, or online.
Completing and Notarizing
Once the form is obtained, it must be fully completed. This form gathers basic information about both spouses. After completion, the form must be notarized to witness the signatures. However, it’s important to note that notary services are not provided by the Probate Office.
Submission and Filing Fee
The next step involves delivering the original, fully completed, and notarized form to the county Probate Judge’s office for recording. Along with the form, a filing fee is required, which varies by county. It’s essential to submit the form within 30 days of signing.
Validity and Effective Date
The effective date of the marriage is determined by the date of the spouses’ signatures. Once the probate court properly completes and records the form, the marriage becomes legally recognized.
Accepted Forms of Identification
To obtain a marriage certificate in Alabama, individuals aged 18 and older need to present a valid driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, military identification, certified school record, or a copy of their birth certificate certified by the state or county.
Divorce and Waiting Period
If you’ve been divorced, there’s a 60-day waiting period after the divorce is finalized before you can apply for a new marriage certificate. This ensures that you have ample time to adjust before entering into a new marriage.
Residency and Waiting Period
There’s no waiting period for marriage in Alabama, except for non-residents who may have to wait three days if they’re getting married by a county marriage official. It’s advisable to contact the County Probate office to clarify whether a waiting period applies.
Previous Marriages and Restrictions
If you’ve been divorced within the last six months before your wedding date, you’ll need to show a copy of your Divorce Decree. Alabama Code Section 30-2-10 imposes a 60-day restriction on getting married after a divorce.
The Marriage Certificate Fee
In Franklin County, the marriage certificate fee is $75. The preferred payment method is cash, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have the necessary funds on hand.
No Blood Test Required
Alabama has eliminated the requirement for a premarital blood test, making the process more straightforward for couples planning to wed.
Name Change Process
Obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name on it doesn’t automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can utilize an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirements
Marriage certificates can be obtained by parties aged 16 to 17 with parental consent. For those aged 18 and over, the process is slightly different.
Proxy and Cousin Marriages
Proxy marriages, where one party applies on behalf of the other, are not permitted in Alabama. However, cousin marriages are allowed, and both first and second cousins may legally marry.
Common Law Marriages
Alabama recognizes valid common law marriages based on capacity to marry, agreement to be spouses, public recognition of the marriage, and consummation.
Expiration Date 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 dates of the spouses’ signatures.
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.
Navigating the world of marriage certificates can seem complex, but understanding the requirements and regulations can make the process smoother. Whether you’re a resident of Alabama or planning a destination wedding, Franklin County offers a streamlined and inclusive approach to obtaining a marriage certificate. With the elimination of certain requirements and the introduction of new procedures under Alabama Act 2019-340, the process is more straightforward than ever.
- Can non-residents get married in Franklin County, Alabama? Yes, non-residents can get married in Franklin County without any residency requirements.
- Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage certificate in Alabama? Generally, there’s no waiting period, except for non-residents who might have a three-day waiting period.
- Do I need witnesses for my marriage ceremony in Alabama? No, witnesses are not required for a marriage ceremony in Alabama.
- What is the purpose of notarizing the marriage certificate form? Notarization ensures the authenticity of the signatures on the form.
- Can I change my last name through the marriage certificate process? While the certificate reflects your new name, it doesn’t automatically change it. You can use an online name change kit for that.