Marriage Certificate Requirements
If you’re considering tying the knot in Washington County, Alabama, you might want to pay close attention to recent changes. The Washington County Probate Office has undergone a significant shift in its marriage-related services, affecting both marriage certificates and ceremony arrangements. This alteration has brought about adjustments in the procedures and requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate. Let’s delve into the details of these changes, explore nearby alternatives, and understand the new processes.
The Changing Landscape of Washington County Probate Office
The Washington County Probate Office, located at 45 Court Street, Chatom, Alabama, has historically been a pivotal place for couples seeking marriage certificates and wedding ceremonies. However, a recent change in legislation and procedures has led to a transformation in the services offered.
No More Marriage Certificates Issued
Under the Alabama Act 2019-340, the Washington County Probate Office, along with all Alabama probate courts, has ceased to issue marriage licenses. This implies that couples wishing to marry are no longer required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court. Instead, a new process has been put in place to record marriage certificates.
The New Approach: Recording Marriage Certificates
The marriage certificate, which represents a binding agreement between the parties involved, is now completed by the marrying individuals themselves. Once completed, the certificate is submitted to the probate court for recording. It is important to note that, under the new system, solemnization—a formal wedding ceremony—is no longer mandatory for a recognized marriage in Alabama.
Requirements for a Marriage Certificate
While the process has shifted, certain requirements remain consistent. Here’s what you need to know before obtaining a marriage certificate:
- Legal Age: Individuals with parental consent can marry at the age of 16, while those without need to be at least 18.
- Same-Sex Marriage: Alabama permits same-sex marriage.
- Waiting Period: There is no waiting period.
- Certificate Validity: The certificate is valid for 30 days.
- Blood Test: No longer required.
- Residency: You do not have to be a resident of Alabama.
- Witnesses: Witnesses are not required.
Steps to Obtain a Marriage Certificate
To obtain a marriage certificate, follow these steps:
- Obtain the standardized marriage certificate form.
- Fully complete the form with accurate information.
- Have the signatures witnessed by a notary.
- Submit the completed and notarized form to the county Probate Judge’s office for recording, along with the appropriate filing fee.
Alternatives to Washington County Probate Office
With the Washington County Probate Office no longer issuing marriage certificates and performing wedding ceremonies, nearby counties have become alternative options.
Choctaw County and Mobile County
For those looking to obtain a marriage certificate and celebrate their union, Choctaw County and Mobile County are now viable alternatives. Both counties are equipped to assist you with the marriage certificate process and facilitate your wedding ceremony.
In light of the recent changes at the Washington County Probate Office, obtaining a marriage certificate and organizing a wedding ceremony in the region has taken a different turn. The shift from issuing licenses to recording certificates directly introduces a new approach to formalizing marriages. Remember, while the procedures have changed, the celebration of love remains at the heart of it all.
Q1: Why has the Washington County Probate Office stopped issuing marriage certificates? The change is a result of the Alabama Act 2019-340, which transitioned the process from issuing licenses to recording certificates.
Q2: Can we still have a wedding ceremony in Washington County? Yes, you can still have a wedding ceremony in Washington County, but solemnization is no longer a requirement for a recognized marriage in Alabama.
Q3: Are witnesses necessary for obtaining a marriage certificate? No, witnesses are not required to obtain a marriage certificate in Alabama.
Q4: Can we choose any county in Alabama for our marriage certificate? Yes, you have the flexibility to choose any county in Alabama for obtaining your marriage certificate.
Q5: How long is a marriage certificate valid? A marriage certificate is valid for 30 days from the date it is signed by the spouses.