Planning a wedding is quite exciting for any couple—so don't let a misunderstanding of the marriage laws in Alabama put a kink in your plans in any way. Here are some of the basics that you will need to know before making any major decisions in your wedding plans.
Getting Your Marriage License
The various counties in Alabama may have their own requirements; therefore, it is wise to call ahead to the county courthouse to find out. However, most counties do ask applicants for the following:
- Valid driver's license or state identification card or birth certificate
- Social Security number
- Copy of divorce decree from previous marriage, if any
- License fee, which varies (typically around $45 for the license only; might be $65 for the license, ceremony, and a certified copy)
Types of Marriages in Alabama
Each state has its own regulations regarding what types of marriage it deems as acceptable. Here are the types of marriage that are valid in Alabama:
- Common Law Marriages: This is a type of marriage in which a couple considers themselves to be husband and wife, yet they have not actually gone through a marriage ceremony—nor do they have a marriage certificate. However, for a common law marriage to exist in Alabama, their must be public recognition of the marriage as well as consummation.
- Cousin marriages: It is legal in Alabama for cousins to marry.
- Under legal age marriages: In Alabama, it is acceptable for a couple to marry if one or both members of the couple are under the age of 18; however, both parents or legal guardians of each minor must be present with a court order and identification. A certified copy of the birth certificate is also needed. Additionally, a $200 bond is required for the State of Alabama. No one under the age of 16 may marry.
There are also marriage types that are not permitted in Alabama. These are:
- Proxy marriages: A proxy marriage is one in which either the bride or the groom is not present for the wedding ceremony and someone else acts as a stand-in (or proxy) for that person.
- Same sex marriages: The state of Alabama does not recognize same sex marriages as valid, even if the marriage was issued a license elsewhere.
It is wise to note that laws and requirements do change; therefore, be sure to check into your local regulations more thoroughly, or contact an attorney,before planning your wedding.