Common-law marriage has diverse names, from "marriage in fact", "marriage by repute and habit", "informal…
Where to Apply
How can I legally get married in Alabama?
The first step to getting married in Alabama is to apply for a marriage license at any probate court. Some are by appointment only.
Where can't I apply?
Due to objections against same-sex marriage, six Alabama counties no longer issue marriage licenses: Clarke, Covington, Elmore, Geneva, Pike, and Washington.
How does my residency impact the application process?
Some probate courts require a parent consenting to a minor's marriage to be a county-resident. Beyond that, there are no residency requirements.
How much will a marriage license cost me?
An Alabama marriage license costs between $70 and $104. The fee varies by county, but most charge around $70–75.
Where can I use my license?
Your Alabama marriage license can be used anywhere in the state. It can't be used outside Alabama.
What information will I have to fill out?
The application will ask for your name, birth name, birthdate, birthplace, race, sex, residence, mailing address, phone number, social security number, marital history, education completed, father's name, and mother's birth name.
What if I'm unable to apply in person?
You and your prospective spouse must apply for your marriage license in person, at the same time. Applying absentee or by proxy is not an option.
How old must I be to marry?
Aged 18 and over?
If you're at least 18 years old, mentally competent, and sober, you can marry without parental consent.
Aged 16 and 17?
If you're 16 or 17 years old, you can marry with the consent of your custodial parents or guardian, as well as approval from a probate court judge. However, if you've been married before, consent isn't required.
Aged 15 and under?
If you at or below the age of 15, you can't legally marry in Alabama.
Who specifically grants consent and how?
If you're a minor, whoever has full legal custody over you—be it one or both parents—must consent to your marriage in person before the probate judge or by written affidavit. One parent households must prove custody. Guardians must prove guardianship.
How soon will I get my marriage license?
You'll receive your marriage license immediately after you apply. You can get married that same day.
How long is my marriage license good for?
Your marriage license will expire 30 days after issuance, after which it will be void.
ID for adults and minors?
All participants—adults, minors, consenting parents—must bring unexpired government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, state-issued ID card, military ID card, passport, citizenship papers, or immigration papers.
ID for minors?
In addition to photo ID, minors must also bring a certified copy of their birth certificate. Hospital and baptismal certificates won't be accepted.
Is my birth certificate required?
While minors must absolutely bring a certified copy of their birth certificate, some probate courts will ask it for adults.
Is my social security card required?
Some probate courts will ask for your social security card or other government document containing it, such as a W-2.
Do I have to get a blood test?
You do not have to submit to a premarital blood test?
What are the requirements for divorced applicants?
You can't marry within 60 days of divorce, unless you're remarrying your former spouse. For everyone else, bring a certified copy of your divorce decree.
What if my prior spouse died?
If your prior marriage ended with the death of your spouse, bring a certified copy of their death certificate.
How do I go about changing my name after marriage?
Your name doesn't change the moment you marry. You'll have to submit the necessary name change forms to officially transition. Update your social security card before moving onto other federal and state institutions.
Are witnesses required?
Witnesses are not required to be present at your marriage ceremony.
Who can officiate my ceremony?
You can be married by an active or retired judge, minister, or anyone authorized by a religious society (e.g., Quakers, Mennonites).
Can we preside over our own ceremony?
You can't have a self-solemnized marriage ceremony. Someone else must officiate.
When does my marriage license need to be sent back?
Whoever presides over your marriage ceremony must return the marriage license to the issuing probate court for recording within 30 days after marriage.
How can I get an official copy of my marriage certificate?
Probate courts sell certified copies of marriage certificates for licenses they issued for about $3. The state's vital records office also sells them for $15.
Do I need a certified copy of my license or certificate?
In Alabama, a certified copy of your marriage license is the same thing as a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
Can I have someone stand-in for me at the ceremony?
You cannot have someone act as your proxy at the marriage ceremony. You must physically be there.
Can I marry my first cousin?
Alabama law doesn't explicitly permit nor forbid marriage among first cousins. The application won't inquire if you're related to one another.
Can I marry another family relation?
You can't marry anyone up or down your family line, as well as aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
Can I get married by common-law?
Effective January 1, 2017, Alabama no longer allows common-law marriage. However, any common-law marriage preceding this date will still be recognized.