Marriage Certificate Requirements
In recent years, the state of Alabama has undergone significant changes in its marriage laws and regulations, particularly with the implementation of Alabama Act 2019-340. This act has brought about a series of modifications that alter the way couples enter into the bonds of matrimony. In this article, we’ll delve into the key aspects of Alabama Act 2019-340, shedding light on the revised requirements, procedures, and implications for couples seeking to tie the knot in the state.
Marriage, a timeless institution, has witnessed various transformations over the years. The Alabama Act 2019-340 marks a notable shift in the way marriages are legally recognized within the state. With its far-reaching implications, it’s crucial for couples and individuals to understand the new requirements and procedures.
The Evolution of Marriage Laws in Alabama
Before delving into the specifics of Alabama Act 2019-340, it’s essential to recognize the historical context and evolution of marriage laws in the state. Alabama’s approach to marriage has evolved significantly, reflecting societal changes and legal advancements.
The Provisions of Alabama Act 2019-340
No More Marriage License Applications
One of the most significant changes brought about by Alabama Act 2019-340 is the elimination of the requirement for couples to file marriage license applications with the county probate court. This change streamlines the process and eliminates bureaucratic hurdles.
Recording of Marriage Certificates
Under the new provisions, all Alabama probate courts are mandated to record marriage certificates. Rather than obtaining a marriage license, couples must now complete a standardized marriage certificate form and deliver it to the probate court for recording.
The Significance of the Alabama Marriage Certificate
Contractual Agreement Between Parties
The Alabama Marriage Certificate serves as a binding contractual agreement between the parties involved in the marriage. This certificate, once completed and properly recorded, signifies the legal recognition of the marriage.
Validity of Marriage without Solemnization
Interestingly, Alabama Act 2019-340 has dispensed with the requirement for solemnization. While a wedding ceremony can still be performed for the parties, it is no longer a mandatory component for a recognized marriage in Alabama.
Steps to Obtain a Marriage Certificate in Alabama
To navigate the new process smoothly, couples seeking to wed in Alabama must adhere to several key steps.
Obtaining the Standardized Marriage Certificate Form
Couples can obtain the standardized marriage certificate form from various sources, including the state, county probate judge’s office, or online channels.
Completing and Notarizing the Form
The form requires comprehensive information about each spouse and must be fully completed. After completion, couples must have their signatures witnessed by a notary, although notary services are not provided by the Probate Office.
Submission and Recording of the Form
Once the form is notarized, it must be submitted to the county Probate Judge’s office for recording. A filing fee, which varies by county, accompanies the submission. It’s important to note that the form must be submitted within 30 days of being signed, and the effective date of the marriage is determined by the spouses’ signature dates.
Specifics for Different Age Groups
For adult applicants aged 18 and over, the process of obtaining a marriage certificate remains relatively straightforward. Valid forms of identification, along with a Social Security card, are required.
Applicants Aged 16-17
Applicants aged 16-17 can also apply for a marriage certificate but require the consent of a parent or guardian to do so.
Ensuring Accuracy and Legibility
To ensure the proper recording of information, it’s imperative that the marriage certificate form is printed on 8.5 x 11 inch white or light paper. Handwritten forms are not accepted to maintain legibility and accuracy.
To obtain a marriage certificate, specific forms of identification are necessary.
Acceptable Forms of Identification
Applicants aged 18 and older can provide identification such as a valid driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, copy of a certified birth certificate, military identification, or a certified school record.
Post-Divorce Waiting Period
Individuals who have recently been divorced must adhere to a waiting period of 60 days before applying for a marriage license.
Residency and Waiting Period
No Residency Requirement
Unlike some states, Alabama does not impose a residency requirement for couples seeking to marry within its borders.
Waiting Periods Explained
While Alabama generally has no waiting period, non-residents who wish to be married by a county marriage official might encounter a three-day waiting period. It’s advisable to contact the County Probate office to ascertain any potential waiting period.
Dealing with Previous Marriages
Recent divorces are subject to certain restrictions when it comes to obtaining a marriage certificate.
Recent Divorces and Marriage Restrictions
If a divorce occurred within the last 6 months prior to the wedding date, a copy of the Divorce Decree must be presented. This restriction is mandated by Section 30-2-10 of the Alabama Code.
Marriage Certificate Fees
Understanding the fees associated with obtaining a marriage certificate is vital.
Understanding Tallapoosa Marriage Certificate Fee
In Tallapoosa County, the marriage certificate fee is $71. It’s important to note that the preferred payment method is cash.
Dispelling the Blood Test Myth
Contrary to historical practices, Alabama no longer requires a premarital blood test.
Managing Name Changes
Obtaining a marriage certificate with a new name doesn’t automatically initiate a name change process.
Name Change Process
To change one’s last name, an online marriage name change kit can be used.
Marrying at a Young Age
Minor Parties Aged 16-17
Individuals aged 16-17 can enter into marriage, provided they have the consent of a parent or guardian.
Parties Aged 18 and Over
For parties aged 18 and over, the process is relatively straightforward, and consent is not required.
The Unavailability of Proxy Marriages
Alabama does not permit proxy marriages, meaning no third party can apply on behalf of the spouses.
First and Second Cousins: Legally Allowed
In Alabama, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry.
Embracing Common Law Marriages
Alabama recognizes common law marriages based on several criteria.
The Changing Role of Marriage Officiants
With the elimination of the solemnization requirement, marriage officiants play a different role in the process.
Expiration and Validity of Marriage Certificates
Marriage certificates remain valid for 30 days from the date of signing.
Obtaining a Copy of Your Marriage Certificate
For those seeking a copy of their marriage certificate, the Alabama Department of Public Health can provide assistance.
Alabama Act 2019-340 has ushered in a new era of marriage regulations in the state, simplifying the process while upholding the sanctity of the institution. With these changes, couples can embark on their marital journey with a clearer understanding of the legal requirements and procedures. Remember, while this article provides an overview, it’s advisable to consult your local County Probate office for specific and up-to-date information.
1. Is a waiting period required for all marriages in Alabama?
No, there is generally no waiting period in Alabama except for cases involving recent divorces. It’s important to verify any potential waiting period with your County Probate office.
2. Can individuals aged 16-17 marry without parental consent?
No, individuals aged 16-17 can marry, but they require the consent of a parent or guardian to do so.
3. Are proxy marriages allowed in Alabama?
No, proxy marriages are not permitted in Alabama. The parties involved must be present to apply for a marriage certificate.
4. Can I change my last name immediately after obtaining a marriage certificate?
No, obtaining a marriage certificate with your new name does not automatically change your name. You can use an online marriage name change kit to facilitate the name change process.
5. What is the validity period of a marriage certificate in Alabama?
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.