Applying for an Alabama Marriage License
If you are about to apply for a marriage license in Alabama, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. The first is that you need to be familiar with Alabama marriage laws before you fill out your marriage license application. These will tell you what documents you need to help you to get your application accepted and processed without hassles.
The second is that rules about applications keep changing. So when you actually apply for your Alabama marriage license, the rules may well have changed. You just have to double-check them with your clerk of court's office at the time you actually submit that application.
In concrete terms, wherever you apply for your license, you will need to produce proof of identity, age and possibly residence. Plus, you will also need to provide your parents’ identities and addresses (including your mothers’ maiden names) and other relevant information, which includes whether you have been married before or not. You will also be required to pay a fee.
When you are ready to sign the license application, you will need to have a witness present. You can do what many do – get your maid of honor or the best man, or both if you need more witnesses, to go along with you.
This will also be when the bride will need to determine what her married name will be. This will be the name that she signs on the marriage certificate. The application will have to carry that name too.
If you are an applicant who is older than 18 years of age, you will need a valid driver's license or birth certificate to establish your age and identity. All applicants must also provide a Social Security number.
Residence for a lengthy duration is not a requirement for an Alabama marriage license. In fact, you don't have to be a resident of the state at all. However in some counties, like Mobile, there is a rule that requires nonresidents to wait three days before they are allowed to have a wedding ceremony conducted by a county marriage official. So, you have to find out from the local county office whether or not you will be subject to a waiting period.
If you have been divorced within 6 months prior to your wedding date, you will need to produce a copy of your divorce decree when applying for an Alabama marriage license. As per Section 30-2-10 of the Alabama Code, there is a 60-day restriction on getting married after a divorce. There is no waiting period in Alabama except for those who have been divorced or, in some counties, for non-residents.
What are the Charges Associated with Your Marriage License?
Alabama marriage license fees vary from county to county. They range from $43.35 for a marriage license only to $63 for a license, ceremony and a certified copy. Cash or credit cards are accepted forms of payment for these fees. In some places, you will have to pay $2 extra for paying by credit card.
No blood or medical tests are required in Alabama to apply for a marriage license, and once issued it is only valid for 30 days. You should also know that the state’s norms for issuing a marriage license are on the whole predictably conservative.
Given the state’s strongly and widely held belief in evangelical Christian traditions and institutions, Alabama might be considered ripe for realizing the concept of the Covenant Marriage. Though discussed among legislators, it has not yet found a place in the state’s legal statutes as an option.
In line with its long surviving social traditions, on the other hand, Alabama has retained provisions for both cousin marriages and common law marriages. A common law marriage is valid in Alabama when there is a clear capacity to present agreement or consent to be husband and wife, to enter into a marriage, and there is public recognition of the existence of the marriage as well as consummation.
Alabama laws do not recognize proxy marriages and same-sex marriages. In fact, the Alabama Marriage Protection Act has this to say about same sex marriage:
"A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state. The State of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred or was alleged to have occurred as a result of the law of any jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued."
In other words, same-sex marriages executed in other states will be held illegal and criminally liable in Alabama.
If you are under 18 years of age, there are clear conditions for you to receive an Alabama marriage license – you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate, and both parents must be present with identification. If you have legal guardians, they must be present with a court order as well as identification.
Additionally, the state requires you or your parents to execute a $200 bond, payable to the State of Alabama. If one or both parents are deceased, evidence to that effect must be adequately provided.
Unlike certain other states that permit individuals who are under 16 years of age to marry under special circumstances, Alabama is opposed to this option. As per Section 30-1-4 of the Alabama Code, there is no provision at all for individuals under the age of 16 to marry.
The marriage ceremony may be conducted by any licensed minister of a Christian church or other denomination, a pastor of one of the recognized religious societies, or current or retired Alabama judges. The officiating person must provide a certificate of the marriage to the judge of probate within one month after the marriage to make the marriage legal and valid.