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Marriage Certificate Requirements

Getting married is a joyous and momentous occasion, and one of the crucial aspects of this milestone is obtaining a marriage certificate. This legal document solidifies the union between two individuals and holds great importance in various legal and official matters. If you’re planning to tie the knot and are wondering about the marriage certificate fee and related details, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of marriage certificate fees, requirements, and procedures. Let’s dive in!


Marriage is a beautiful journey that begins with a special ceremony and culminates in the legal union of two people. A significant aspect of this union is the marriage certificate, a document that serves as a testament to your commitment. In the state of Alabama, obtaining a marriage certificate involves a series of steps, including meeting certain requirements and paying a fee. Let’s explore the process in detail.

Understanding the Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate is more than just a piece of paper; it holds the legal recognition of your marital status. This document not only solidifies your union but also allows you to access various rights and benefits. Whether you’re changing your last name, updating your identification documents, or even applying for joint loans, a marriage certificate is often a fundamental requirement.

Lamar County Probate: Your Go-To Source

For residents of Lamar County, Alabama, the Lamar County Probate office is the authority responsible for recording marriage certificates. Located at 44690 Hwy 17, Vernon, Alabama, the Probate office operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (excluding court-approved holidays). The friendly staff at the Probate office is ready to assist you in the process of obtaining your marriage certificate.

Applying for a Marriage Certificate

Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident of Alabama, applying for a marriage certificate is a straightforward process. The state has streamlined the procedure to make it convenient for couples seeking to formalize their union. Let’s delve into the key requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate in Alabama.

Marriage Certificate Requirements in Alabama

When it comes to marriage certificate requirements, Alabama has specific guidelines in place to ensure the legal and proper execution of marriages. These requirements vary based on factors such as age, consent, and other legal considerations. Here’s an overview of what you need to know:

Legal Age with Parental Consent: 16

In Alabama, individuals as young as 16 can apply for a marriage certificate, provided they have parental consent. This acknowledges the importance of parental involvement and ensures that young couples have the support of their families.

Legal Age without Parental Consent: 18

For those who have reached the age of 18, parental consent is not required to obtain a marriage certificate. This recognizes the legal adulthood of individuals and their ability to make independent decisions.

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Same-Sex Marriage: Yes

Alabama recognizes and embraces same-sex marriages, ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all couples, regardless of gender.

Waiting Period: None

Unlike some states, Alabama does not impose a waiting period between obtaining a marriage certificate and holding the wedding ceremony. This allows couples to plan their special day without unnecessary delays.

Certificate Validity: 30 Days

Once issued, a marriage certificate in Alabama remains valid for 30 days from the date of issuance. This timeframe provides couples with ample flexibility to plan and carry out their wedding ceremony.

Blood Test: Not Required

Unlike historical practices, Alabama no longer requires couples to undergo a premarital blood test before obtaining a marriage certificate.

Residency: Not Required

Alabama welcomes couples from all over to tie the knot within its borders, making it a popular destination for destination weddings.

Witnesses: Not Required

Unlike some jurisdictions, Alabama does not mandate the presence of witnesses during the marriage ceremony. This simplifies the process and allows for more intimate celebrations.

Changes in Marriage Laws

It’s essential to stay informed about changes in marriage laws, as they can impact the requirements and procedures for obtaining a marriage certificate. In 2019, Alabama implemented Act 2019-340, which altered the process of applying for a marriage license. Under this act, individuals seeking marriage are no longer required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court, and courts will no longer issue marriage licenses. Instead, all Alabama probate courts are now responsible for recording marriage certificates.

The Role of Alabama Marriage Officiants

In light of the changes in marriage laws, solemnization is no longer a requirement for a recognized marriage in Alabama. This means that you are not obligated to have a formal wedding ceremony officiated by a religious or civil authority to have your marriage legally recognized. While a wedding ceremony can still be performed, it is no longer a mandatory component of a legally valid marriage.

How to Obtain a Marriage Certificate

The process of obtaining a marriage certificate in Alabama involves several steps, each of which is designed to ensure the accuracy and legality of the document. Here’s an overview of the process:

Standardized Marriage Certificate Form

To begin the process, you and your partner must obtain a standardized marriage certificate form. This form is provided by the state, county probate judge’s office, or can even be accessed online. The form collects essential information about both spouses.

Witnessing Signatures

Once you have completed the form, both parties must sign it in the presence of a witness. This witness is typically a notary public who will verify the authenticity of the signatures.

Notary Services

It’s important to note that notary services for the marriage certificate form are not provided by the Probate Office. Therefore, you’ll need to seek the services of a notary public on your own.

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Filing Fee

When submitting your marriage certificate form, you will need to pay a filing fee. The specific fee amount varies depending on the county in which you are applying for the certificate.

Submission Timeline

The completed and notarized marriage certificate form must be submitted to the county Probate Judge’s office within 30 days of being signed. The effective date of the marriage is determined by the dates of the spouses’ signatures.

Legal Validity

Once the marriage certificate form is properly completed and recorded by the probate court, your marriage is legally recognized. A formal wedding ceremony is not mandatory for the marriage to be valid.

Marriage Certificate Fee Alabama: What You Need to Know

As with many official documents, obtaining a marriage certificate involves a fee. In Lamar County, Alabama, the marriage certificate fee is $75. It’s important to note that the preferred method of payment is cash. This fee covers the administrative and processing costs associated with recording and maintaining marriage records.

Accepted Forms of Identification

To apply for a marriage certificate in Alabama, you’ll need to present valid forms of identification. If you’re 18 or older, you must provide one of the following forms of identification, along with your Social Security card:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • Non-driver’s license
  • Passport
  • A copy of your birth certificate certified by the State or County
  • A military identification
  • A certified school record

It’s worth noting that if you’ve been divorced, you may need to wait for 60 days after your divorce is finalized before applying for a marriage license, unless you’re remarrying your former spouse.

Residency and Waiting Period Requirements

Alabama has flexible residency and waiting period requirements. There is no waiting period for marriage in Alabama, except for individuals who have been divorced. If you’ve recently divorced, you must wait 60 days after the divorce is final before applying for a marriage license. Non-residents who wish to be married by a county marriage official may have a three-day waiting period, so it’s advisable to contact the County Probate office for specific details.

Navigating Previous Marriages

If you were divorced within the last six months before your wedding date, you’ll need to provide a copy of your Divorce Decree. Alabama law (Section 30-2-10 of the Alabama Code) imposes a 60-day restriction on getting married after a divorce.

Name Change After Marriage

While obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name is an important step, it’s essential to understand that this does not automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name after marriage, you can use an online marriage name change kit to help navigate the process.

Marriage Age Requirements in Alabama

Alabama has specific marriage age requirements in place to ensure that individuals are of a certain age before entering into marriage. Minor parties aged 16 to 17 years can enter into marriage with parental or guardian consent. Instructions for completing and filing the required forms are provided, ensuring that even younger individuals can formalize their union legally.

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For parties aged 18 and over, the marriage certificate form is available for straightforward completion.

Special Cases: Proxy, Cousin, and Common Law Marriages

Proxy marriages, where one party is not physically present during the ceremony, are not permitted in Alabama. Both parties must be present to enter into a marriage.

In Alabama, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry. This aspect of the law sets Alabama apart from some other states that have more restrictive cousin marriage regulations.

Additionally, Alabama recognizes common law marriages, which are marriages that are established without a formal ceremony. For a valid common law marriage to exist, certain criteria must be met, including mutual consent and public recognition of the marital status.

Expiration Date of Marriage Certificates

Marriage certificates issued in Alabama are valid for a period of 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 Your Marriage Certificate

Should you need a copy of your marriage certificate in the future, you can reach out to the Alabama Department of Public Health, specifically the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The office is located at 434 Monroe St., Montgomery, Alabama 36130-3017. You can contact them by phone at 334.613.5300 or fax at 334.240.3097.


Obtaining a marriage certificate is an essential step in formalizing your union and accessing various legal rights and benefits. Understanding the marriage certificate fee, requirements, and procedures is crucial for a seamless and joyous wedding journey. Whether you’re a resident of Lamar County or planning a destination wedding in Alabama, the process is designed to be straightforward and accessible. Remember, a marriage certificate is more than just a piece of paper—it’s a symbol of love, commitment, and a new chapter in your life’s journey.


  1. Q: How much does a marriage certificate cost in Lamar County, Alabama? A: The marriage certificate fee in Lamar County is $75.
  2. Q: Is a waiting period required to obtain a marriage certificate in Alabama? A: There is no waiting period in Alabama, except for individuals who have been recently divorced. In such cases, a 60-day waiting period applies.
  3. Q: Can I change my name after obtaining a marriage certificate? A: While obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name is an important step, it does not automatically change your name. You can use an online marriage name change kit to facilitate the process.
  4. Q: Are witnesses required for a marriage ceremony in Alabama? A: No, witnesses are not required for a marriage ceremony in Alabama.
  5. Q: Can first cousins marry in Alabama? A: Yes, first cousins are legally allowed to marry in Alabama.

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