NEW Marriage Process - Alabama Act 2019-340
Effective August 29, 2019, the process for entering into a legal marriage in Alabama changes, pursuant to Ala. Act 2019-340. Under the new law, persons wishing to become married are no longer required to file an application for a marriage license with the county probate court, and the courts will no longer issue marriage licenses. Furthermore, all Alabama probate courts will now be required to record marriage certificates. The Alabama Marriage Certificate form represents a contractual agreement between the parties to the marriage, completed by both parties and delivered to the probate court for recording. Once properly completed and recorded, the marriage is valid. A wedding ceremony may be performed for the parties, but solemnization is no longer required for a recognized marriage in Alabama.
Information, forms and instructions are available on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/vitalrecords/marriage-certificates.html.
View the signed bill here: Ala.Act 2019-340
Alabama Marriage Certificate FAQ & Other Resources For additional information and answers to commonly asked questions of the Court, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) below.
Alabama Marriage Certificate Forms For ease of reference, links to the forms & instructions are listed below:
For Minors - Form/Instructions for Completing and Filing an Alabama Marriage Certificate
Please note: The form should be printed on 8.5 x 11 inch white or light paper, front side only, as actual size, not “fit to page” or another modified size.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. When does the new law go into effect?
The new law, which eliminates the issuance of marriage licenses, is effective Thursday, August 29, 2019.
2. What steps must a couple complete to be considered married under Alabama law?
3. Where does a couple obtain the new Alabama Marriage Certificate form?
Once the new Act goes into effect, you can access the new Alabama Marriage Certificate form online at the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website at http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/vitalrecords/marriage-certificates.html. The Marion County Probate Court will also place a link to the form on its website: www.marioncountyprobate.org. These links will also take you to instructions for completing and filing the new forms. In addition, Marion County Probate Court will provide blank forms for pick up at the office
4. When is the effective date of the marriage?
As long as the Marriage Certificate form is submitted to probate court within 30 days of the signatures of the parties, the effective date of the marriage is the date that both parties sign the Marriage Certificate form. If the spouses sign on different dates, the date of the marriage will be the latter of the dates of the spouses’ signatures.
5. Are couples still required to have a marriage ceremony?
No. The new Act eliminates any requirement of a ceremony. Couples may still have ceremonies, of course.
6. Are couples required to go to an Alabama probate court PRIOR to getting married?
No. Unlike the previous law’s requirement that a couple apply for a license PRIOR to getting married, the new Act requires that the Alabama Marriage Certificate form be filed with an Alabama probate court AFTER the couple is married.
7. How old must a person be to marry in Alabama?
To get married without parental consent, a person must be at least 18 years old. Anyone under the age of 18, but at least 16 years old may marry in Alabama as long as he or she has parental consent. Anyone under the age of 16 years old is not permitted to marry.
8. Must both parents consent for a minor to marry?
No. Unlike the previous law’s requirements that BOTH parents consent to the minor being married, the new Act only requires that ONE parent consent to the minor’s marriage.
9. How does a parent provide consent for a minor to marry?
There are two versions of the Marriage Certificate form. There is one form for persons who are 18 years of age and older, and a second version of the form for persons who are 16 to 17 years of age and require the consent of a parent or guardian to enter into marriage. The consenting parent(s) or guardian(s) must complete page 2 of the Marriage Certificate form, entitled “Affidavit of Consent for Marriage of a Minor.”
10. How much is the fee to get married?
The fee to record the Marriage Certificate form is $70.00 in Marion County. The fee must be paid by cash, money order, or credit card. No checks will be accepted to record Marriage Certificate forms. A certified copy of the Marriage Certificate is an additional $4. If a couple requests that a notary of the Marion County Probate Office notarize any signature, the fee is $5 per signature.
11. How do I obtain certified copies of my Marriage Certificate?
If you would like a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate, you may obtain a copy from the Marion County Probate Office This can be obtained immediately after its been recorded. The fee for a certified copy is $4.00 for a standard Marriage Certificate, and $5.00 for a Marriage Certificate that includes parental consent. Copies may also be obtained from the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Center for Health Statistics. Once the certificate has been submitted by the probate court and received and filed in the Center for Health Statistics, you may request certified copies of your certificate through that office. For instructions on how to request certified copies of your certificate in person, online, by mail, or by phone, visit the Center’s website at http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/vitalrecords/marriage-certificates.html. You may also call the Center for Health Statistics at (334) 206-5418.
12. What happens if the form is not submitted to probate court within 30 days of the signatures of the parties?
The marriage would be considered invalid, and the spouses would need to start the process over. They would complete a new Marriage Certificate form and deliver it to the probate court within the 30 days required by law.
13. Do both spouses have to come together to probate court to bring the Marriage Certificate form to be recorded?
We have requested clarification from the Alabama Attorney General as to whether one spouse or a third party may deliver the Marriage Certificate form to probate court to be recorded, and whether the Marriage Certificate form can be mailed to probate court in lieu of hand delivery. Until we receive that clarification, both spouses need to bring in the completed Marriage Certificate form in person to probatecourt to record it. Once we receive a response from the Attorney General on this and other matters, we will update this FAQ document on our website. We will also publish a copy of the Attorney General’s Opinion on our website.
14. Am I required to record the Marriage Certificate form in the county where I or my intended spouse reside?
No. You may record an Alabama Marriage Certificate form in any Alabama probate court.
15. Will probate court provide a notary to notarize the Marriage Certificate form?
Staff at the Mobile County Probate Court are not permitted to notarize documents for the public. Notaries are available at many locations, including banks, public libraries, UPS stores, AAA, and some pharmacies. Your personal bank should provide notary services for free, but there may be a charge for notary services at some of the other listed locations. Under Alabama law, a notary public is able to charge $5 for each signature that is notarized, and for each official act performed.