Marriage Certificate Requirements
When it comes to tying the knot in Alabama, obtaining a marriage certificate is an essential step. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process, requirements, and important details regarding marriage certificates in the state. From the fees involved to the necessary documentation, we’ve got you covered.
Congratulations, lovebirds! If you’re considering taking the plunge into matrimony in Alabama, understanding the process of obtaining a marriage certificate is crucial. This document not only signifies your commitment but also legally binds you as a married couple. Let’s dive into the details step by step.
The Transition: Alabama Act 2019-340
In the world of weddings, change is afoot. With the enactment of Alabama Act 2019-340, the way marriages are recognized and recorded has undergone a significant shift. Gone are the days of applying for marriage licenses through the county probate court.
The Role of Marriage Certificates
So, what exactly is the role of a marriage certificate? It’s not just a piece of paper; it’s a contractual agreement between you and your spouse. This document is completed by both parties and delivered to the probate court for recording. Once recorded, your marriage becomes legally recognized.
No More Marriage Licenses
Under the new law, the requirement for marriage licenses has been eliminated. This means that couples no longer need to file an application for a marriage license. Instead, they will directly submit a completed marriage certificate.
The Marriage Certificate Form
Let’s talk forms. To embark on this marital journey, you’ll need to obtain a standardized marriage certificate form. You can get this form from the state, your county probate judge’s office, or online. This form will be your guide throughout the process.
Completing the Form
Now comes the nitty-gritty: completing the form. You and your partner will provide essential information about yourselves, similar to what was required for marriage licenses. Make sure to fill out the form accurately and truthfully.
Notarization and Submission
Once the form is complete, you’ll need to have it notarized. This involves a notary witnessing your signatures on the document. Remember, the probate office doesn’t provide notary services for the form, so you’ll need to arrange for this yourself.
Validating the Marriage
The magic moment happens when you deliver the original, fully completed, and notarized form to the county Probate Judge’s office. Along with the form, you’ll need to pay the applicable filing fee. Keep in mind that fees vary by county.
Special Cases: Age Requirements
If you’re aged 18 or older, you’re good to go. However, for those aged 16-17, parental or guardian consent is necessary. There are specific forms for applicants in this age group, and it’s important to follow these guidelines.
Identification and Residency
To obtain a marriage certificate, you’ll need to present identification. Acceptable forms include a valid driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, certified copy of your birth certificate, military ID, or certified school record. Social Security cards are also required.
Waiting Periods Explained
In Alabama, there’s generally no waiting period to get married, except for cases involving recent divorces. If you’ve been divorced, a 60-day waiting period applies. Non-residents who want to be married by a county marriage official may have a three-day waiting period.
If you’ve recently been divorced, keep in mind that there’s a 60-day restriction on getting married after a divorce, according to Section 30-2-10 of the Alabama Code.
The Cost of Love: Marriage Certificate Fee
Love doesn’t come free, and neither does a marriage certificate. The fee for a Lee County marriage certificate is $73. It’s important to have the preferred method of payment, usually cash, ready.
No More Blood Tests
The good news? Alabama no longer requires premarital blood tests. Love may make your heart race, but there’s no need for a doctor’s note to prove it.
Navigating Name Changes
If you’re planning to change your last name after marriage, obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name is just the beginning. Additional steps are required to update your name on legal documents.
Officiants and Solemnization
In Alabama, the need for solemnization—formal ceremonies performed by a wedding officiant—has been eliminated. This means that a wedding ceremony is no longer necessary for a recognized marriage.
Expiration and Validity
Marriage certificates are valid for 30 days from the date they’re signed. The effective date of the marriage is based on the signature date of the spouses.
Need a Copy? Here’s How
If you need a copy of your marriage certificate, you can obtain one through the Alabama Department of Public Health. Just follow the provided guidelines and get a certified copy of this cherished document.
Navigating the world of marriage certificates might seem complex, but with the information provided here, you’re equipped to embark on this exciting journey. Remember, a marriage certificate isn’t just a piece of paper—it’s a legal testament to the love and commitment you share with your partner.
- Can I apply for a marriage license in Alabama? No, marriage licenses are no longer required. Instead, submit a completed marriage certificate.
- What’s the cost of a Lee County marriage certificate? The fee for a Lee County marriage certificate is $73.
- Is a waiting period required in Alabama? There’s generally no waiting period, but recent divorcees must wait 60 days before remarrying.
- Are blood tests necessary in Alabama? No, premarital blood tests are no longer required.
- Can I change my last name through a marriage certificate? While a marriage certificate is a step towards a name change, additional steps are needed for full legal name changes.