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From the Alabama Public Health Department, here are some frequently asked questions:
LEGALITY OF MARRIAGE IN ALABAMA
Q. How has the marriage process changed under the law passed in 2019 by
the Alabama Legislature?
A. As of August 29, 2019, persons wanting to marry in Alabama no longer file an
application for a marriage license with the county probate court, and the courts no longer
issue marriage licenses. Instead, the Alabama Marriage Certificate form should be
completed by the persons entering into marriage and delivered to the probate court for
Q. When does my marriage become “legal”?
A. Your marriage is valid or “legal” when the properly completed, signed and
notarized Alabama Marriage Certificate form is recorded by an Alabama probate court.
The marriage form must be delivered to the probate court within 30 days of the latter
of the dates of the spouses’ signatures for the marriage to be valid.
Q. How is the date of my marriage determined?
A. The law provides that the date of the marriage is the date that the affidavit on the
Alabama Marriage Certificate form is signed by the two spouses, so long as the
completed and notarized form is provided to the probate office for recording within
30 days of the date of the spouses’ signatures. If the spouses sign on different dates, the
date of the marriage will be the latter of the dates of the spouses’ signatures,
provided the form is delivered to the probate court within 30 days of the date of that
Q. What does “the latter of the dates of the spouses’ signatures” mean?
A. If the spouses sign on two different dates, this means the latest date of the two
Q. Where can I find the Alabama Marriage Certificate form?
A. You can access the Alabama Marriage Certificate form online at the Alabama
Department of Public Health’s website at
http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/vitalrecords/marriage- certificates.html. 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. Instructions for completing and filing the forms are
included. County probate courts may also elect to post a link to the forms on their
own websites or have printed copies of the forms available at their offices.
Q. Can I still have a marriage ceremony performed?
A. A wedding ceremony is optional. You may have a ceremony, but it is no longer required
for a recognized marriage in Alabama.
Q. How long do I have to wait after my divorce to remarry in Alabama?
A. Certain circumstances can affect the waiting period for remarriage after divorce. Please
consult your divorce decree for guidance or contact your legal representative or the court
which issued the divorce decree for assistance.
WHO CAN MARRY IN ALABAMA
Q. Can minors marry in Alabama?
A. If you are under the age of 18, but are at least 16 years of age, and have never been
married, you can still marry in Alabama with the consent of a parent or guardian. 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.” For the marriage to be valid,
the marriage form completed by the spouses and the Affidavit of Consent must be
presented together to the probate court for recording. The final Marriage Certificate will
be a two-page document.
Q. I live in another country. Can I marry in Alabama? What should I put on the
Marriage Certificate form for county and state of residence and Social
A. A resident of a foreign country who meets the eligibility criteria stated on the
Marriage Certificate form and who properly completes the Marriage Certificate can marry
in Alabama. Persons who reside in a foreign country should enter the name of the
state, province or territory of the foreign country in the Residence County field on the
form and enter the name of the foreign country in the Residence State field. If an
individual has never been assigned a Social Security Number by the Social
Security Administration, the field for the Social Security Number should be left blank.
Q. Where can I find a notary? Will there be a charge for notary services?
A. 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. Notaries who drive to meet with you
can charge an additional fee or fees to compensate them for the expense of
travel; Alabama does not set limits on what a notary can charge for travel. A list of
commissioned notaries is available at the Alabama Secretary of State’s website at
https://www.sos.alabama.gov/administrative-services/notaries-public. Licensed out-of state notaries can also witness signatures on Alabama Marriage Certificate forms.
Q. Can I or my notary electronically sign the Alabama Marriage Certificate
A. An electronic signature of a spouse, notary or consenting parent of a minor spouse is
not acceptable on a Marriage Certificate. A Marriage Certificate form with an electronic
signature for any of these parties will not be recorded or filed.
HOW TO RECORD AN ALABAMA MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
Q. Am I required to record the Alabama Marriage Certificate form in the
probate court of the Alabama county where I or my intended spouse
A. You may record an Alabama Marriage Certificate form in any Alabama county
Q. How much does it cost to record a marriage with the probate court?
A. Every county probate court in Alabama sets its own fees for recording documents.
Call the office of the probate court for its current recording fees or check the court’s
website to find a listing of recording fees.
Q. What happens if the Alabama Marriage Certificate form is not delivered to
the probate court within 30 days of the spouses’ signatures, as required?
A. The marriage would be considered invalid, and the spouses would need to
complete a new Marriage Certificate form and deliver it to the probate court within
the 30 days required by law.
Q. Can I mail the Alabama Marriage Certificate to the probate court?
A. Yes, however, you should mail the completed, signed and notarized Alabama
Marriage Certificate in sufficient time to be received by the probate court within the 30
days required under law, in order for the marriage to be valid. Certificates that are
emailed will not be accepted by the probate courts.
Q. Can I send my completed Alabama Marriage Certificate directly to the
Center for Health Statistics for filing?
A. No, Marriage Certificates must be delivered to an Alabama county probate court for
recording, not the Center for Health Statistics. Marriage Certificate forms sent directly to
the Center for Health Statistics will be returned to the sender without being
recorded or filed.
MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE COPIES AND CORRECTIONS
Q. Will the probate court provide me with a certified copy of my Marriage
Certificate after it has been recorded?
A. Some probate courts currently provide a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate
to couples and have announced that they will continue to do so, but the practice is
different from county to county.
Q. How do I get additional certified copies of my Marriage Certificate?
A. After the probate court records the Marriage Certificate, the original certificate will
be forwarded to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Center for Health
Statistics. Once the original certificate has been 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 or
by mail, visit the Center’s website at
Q. If I or my spouse made a mistake in the information we provided on the
Marriage Certificate, can we make corrections to the Marriage Certificate
after it has been filed with the probate court?
A. Yes, you can make corrections to your filed Marriage Certificate. To do so, you must
complete a form called “Amendment to Alabama Marriage Certificate and Decree of
Correction.” You may obtain that form from an Alabama county probate court. The
form must be completed, signed and notarized by both spouses and presented to an
Alabama probate court for filing. You will need to pay another recording fee to the
court at that time. After recording, the court will forward the amendment to the
Alabama Department of Public Health’s Center for Health Statistics. The amendment
will be permanently attached to and issued with the original Marriage Certificate when
certified copies are requested through the Center for Health Statistics. See the
Frequently Asked Question about obtaining additional certified copies of a Marriage
Certificate for more information.