Alabama’s new process for obtaining a marriage certificate is designed to make tying the knot easier but it will require couples to go through several steps.
Starting Aug. 29, Alabama will no longer issue traditional marriage licenses. Instead, couples wanting to get wed will submit a notarized marriage certificate that will be recorded – but not issued – by Probate Judges. The notarized statement must be submitted within a month of being signed.
“The new law eliminates the need for a license to be obtained in advance and a ceremony is no longer required, although couple may certainly have a ceremony if they wish,”
Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger said.
“The new law eliminates the need for a license to be obtained in advance and a ceremony is no longer required, although couple may certainly have a ceremony if they wish,” Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger said.
Here is the new process:
1. Obtain a standardized marriage certificate form provided by the state or county probate judge’s office. The process will differ by county but in Madison County, a fillable form will be available on the Probate Judge’s website on Aug. 28.
2. Complete the form. The form requests the same basic information about each spouse that is currently used. Madison County is requiring the form be typed to prevent problems with reading the certificate.
3. Take the completed form to a notary for signature.
4. Deliver the notarized form to the county Probate Judge’s office for recording, along with the filing fee from that county. The form must be submitted with 30 days of being signed.
5. Pay the required filing fee. The fee varies by county. (I've looked and the fees have not been revealed yet, I'm thinking we'll find out when it is released on August 28th)
6. The effective date of the marriage is the latter of the dates of the signature of the spouses.
All other requirements related to getting married -applicants must be of legal age, not already married, not related and competent to enter into marriage – remain the same. The marriage does not have to be solemnized by a minister or someone else licensed to perform a ceremony and that person does not have to sign the form.
Current marriage licenses are valid through Aug. 28, 2019, after that date couples must use the new forms.