Marriage Laws for Alabama
Who can perform marriage in Alabama, Who can file for a marriage license, and more.
Who can perform marriage in Alabama, Who can file for a marriage license, and more.
The issue of any incestuous marriage, before the same is annulled, shall not be deemed illegitimate.
(Code 1852, §1945; Code 1867, §2334; Code 1876, §2673; Code 1886, §2310; Code 1896, §2840; Code 1907, §4880; Code 1923, §8994; Code 1940, T. 34, §3.)
A person under the age of 16 years is incapable of contracting marriage.
(Code 1852, §1944; Code 1867, §2333; Code 1876, §2672; Code 1886, §2309; Code 1896, §2839; Code 1907, §4879; Code 1923, §8993; Code 1940, T. 34, §4; Act 2003-150, p. 454, §1.)
If the person intending to marry is at least 16 years of age and under 18 years of age and has not had a former wife or husband, the judge of probate shall require the consent of the parents or guardians of the minor to the marriage, to be given either personally or in writing, and, if the latter, the execution thereof shall be proved. The judge of probate shall also require a bond to be executed in the penal sum of two hundred dollars ($200), payable to the State of Alabama, with condition to be void if there is no lawful cause why such marriage should not be celebrated.
(Code 1852, §1950; Code 1867, §2339; Code 1876, §2678; Code 1886, §2315; Code 1896, §2845; Code 1907, §4885; Code 1923, §8999; Code 1940, T. 34, §10; Act 2003-150, p. 454, §1.)
Any person solemnizing the rites of matrimony with the knowledge that either party is under the age of legal consent, or within the degrees prohibited by law, must, on conviction, be fined not less than $1,000.00.
(Code 1852, §1956; Code 1867, §2345; Code 1876, §4430; Code 1886, §4173; Code 1896, §5593; Code 1907, §7391; Code 1923, §4943; Code 1940, T. 34, §5.)
Any person authorized under this chapter to celebrate the rites of matrimony is entitled to $2.00 for each marriage solemnized.
(Code 1852, §1959; Code 1867, §2348; Code 1876, §2683; Code 1886, §2321; Code 1896, §2851; Code 1907, §4891; Code 1923, §9005; Code 1940, T. 34, §18.)
No marriage shall be solemnized without a license. Marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties. The license is an authority to anyone qualified to solemnize marriage to join together in matrimony the persons therein named. Any license issued under the provisions of this section shall be invalid if the marriage for which it was issued has not been solemnized within 30 days from the date of issuance. No person now or hereafter authorized by law to solemnize marriages shall perform any ceremony or solemnize any marriage if the license issued for such marriage has become invalid. Said license shall have stamped or printed upon it the words: "This license is void after 30 days from date unless the marriage is solemnized within said time."
(Code 1852, §1949; Code 1867, §2338; Code 1876, §2677; Code 1886, §2314; Code 1896, §2844; Code 1907, §4884; Code 1923, §8998; Code 1940, T. 34, §9; Acts 1953, No. 276, p. 342; Acts 1961, No. 708, p. 1000.)
A judge of probate, issuing a license for the marriage of a minor contrary to the provisions of this chapter, forfeits $200.00 to the parent or to the guardian of such minor for the use of his ward, for which the parent or guardian may sue. If it be shown that the parent or guardian consented to the marriage, or that at the time of the issuance of the license an affidavit was made by such minor, or some other credible person claiming to know the fact, that such minor was of age required by law, the penalty given by this section is not recoverable.
(Code 1852, §1953; Code 1867, §2342; Code 1876, §2681; Code 1886, §§2318, 2319; Code 1896, §§2848, 2849; Code 1907, §§4888, 4889; Code 1923, §§9002, 9003; Code 1940, T. 34, §§15, 16.)
Any person authorized under this chapter to perform a marriage ceremony, who joins any persons in marriage without a license as required by this chapter or who goes out of the state and marries persons, one or both of whom reside in this state, without such license or a license from the state in which the marriage is celebrated, forfeits $1,000.00, one half to the use of the state, and the other half to the use of any person who may sue for the same.
(Code 1852, §1955; Code 1867, §2344; Code 1876, §2682; Code 1886, §2320; Code 1896, §2850; Code 1907, §4890; Code 1923, §9004; Code 1940, T. 34, §17.)
The judge of probate must keep a book, in which shall be registered all licenses issued by him and which shall state whether the parties, or either of them, were of the age specified in Section 30-1-5. If not, he must also state whether either of them had been previously married, or if consent had been given to the marriage by the parent or guardian. If such consent was in writing, he must transcribe it on the same page on which he records the license, and the record so made, or a certified copy thereof, is presumptive evidence of the facts.
(Code 1852, §1951; Code 1867, §2340; Code 1876, §2679; Code 1886, §2316; Code 1896, §2846; Code 1907, §4886; Code 1923, §9000; Code 1940, T. 34, §11.)
(a) When the records pertaining to a marriage are incomplete or inaccurate, the judge of probate of a county in which the marriage license was issued shall correct or perfect the same upon proper petition being filed by either party to the marriage, or someone delegated or authorized by him or her, in his or her name and behalf, giving the names and residences of the parties to the marriage, if known, and if the residence is not known, an affidavit by petitioner or petitioner's attorney that the residence is not known and that diligent effort has been made to ascertain the same, together with a clear statement setting up wherein the record of the marriage should be corrected or perfected. Notice of the time and place set for hearing the application shall be given for at least six days by personal service thereof, if the other party resides in the State of Alabama, unless both parties join in the petition, and in such case the petition may be set down for an immediate hearing. If the other party to the marriage is a nonresident or has absented himself or herself from the state for six months or longer and his or her address is known, then service may be made by sending a copy of the petition by registered or certified mail, with return receipt requested, to the address of the other party. If the address is not known, service may be made by advertisement in a newspaper published in the county where petition is filed by one weekly insertion therein. (b) The judge of probate shall, after the filing of the petition and proof of service is made, hear any competent evidence that may be offered or such as may be required by him, and if he is satisfied from the proof made that the record of marriage in his office is incorrect or incomplete, he may thereupon enter a decree correcting or perfecting the same in the manner prayed for in the petition. (c) The decree made and entered as herein provided shall be recorded in a permanent record in the office of the judge of probate and a copy thereof, certified as prescribed by law, shall be admissible evidence and prima facie proof in any court of the correctness of the facts stated therein. (d) The costs of the proceeding authorized by this section shall be taxed and paid as provided by law in other proceedings in the probate courts of this state.
(Acts 1957, No. 559, p. 778.)
All persons or religious societies solemnizing marriage by virtue of a license or according to their peculiar forms must, within one month thereafter, certify the fact in writing to the judge of probate, setting forth the names of the parties and the time and place of the celebration thereof, which certificate must be recorded in the book kept for the registry of licenses. A certified copy thereof is presumptive evidence of the fact.
(Code 1852, §1952; Code 1867, §2341; Code 1876, §2680; Code 1886, §2317; Code 1896, §2847; Code 1907, §4887; Code 1923, §9001; Code 1940, T. 34, §12.)
Any judge, minister of the gospel or other person uniting persons in matrimony or any clerk or keeper of the minutes of a religious society celebrating marriage by the consent of the parties before the congregation, who fails to return a certificate thereof to the judge of probate, as required by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(Code 1852, §1957; Code 1867, §2346; Code 1876, §4431; Code 1886, §4174; Code 1896, §5594; Code 1907, §7392; Code 1923, §4944; Code 1940, T. 34, §14.)
(a) In all instances where a marriage license has been issued and certificate returned and vital error has been made on the face of the application, license or certificate, necessitating that a correction be made thereof, the judge of probate of the county in which the license was issued shall, upon proper petition being filed by either party to the marriage or someone delegated or authorized by him or her, in his or her name and behalf, giving the names and residences of the parties to the marriage, and if the residence is not known, an affidavit by petitioner or petitioner's attorney that the residence is not known and that diligent effort has been made to locate same, together with a clear statement setting up wherein the correction should be made in the application license or certificate, set a date for hearing the petition after first having given notice of the time and place of the hearing for at least six days by personal service thereof if the other resides in the State of Alabama, unless both parties join in the petition and in such case the petition may be set down for immediate hearing. If the other party to the marriage is a nonresident or has absented himself or herself from the state for six months or longer and his or her address is known, then service may be made by sending a copy of the petition by registered or certified mail, with return receipt requested, to the address of the other party. If the address is not known, service may be made by advertisement in a newspaper published in the county where the petition is filed by one weekly insertion therein. (b) The judge of probate shall, after the filing of the petition and proof of service thereon made, hear any competent evidence that may be offered or such as may be required by him, and if he is satisfied from the proof made that the alleged error or mistake should be corrected, thereupon enter a decree correcting same. (c) The decree made and entered as herein provided shall be recorded in a permanent record in the office of the judge of probate and a copy thereof sent to the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the State of Alabama, and a certified copy of the decree issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be admissible evidence and prima facie proof in any court of the correctness of the facts stated therein. (d) The cost of the proceeding shall be paid as provided by law in proceedings in the probate court of the State of Alabama, same to be paid by the petitioner or petitioners.
(Acts 1943, No. 337, p. 318.)
It is the duty of the judge of probate to give notice to the district attorney of all offenses under this chapter.
(Code 1852, §1960; Code 1867, §2349; Code 1876, §2684; Code 1886, §4175; Code 1896, §5595; Code 1907, §7393; Code 1923, §4945; Code 1940, T. 34, §19.)
(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Alabama Marriage Protection Act." (b) Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman. As a matter of public policy, this state has a special interest in encouraging, supporting, and protecting the unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children. A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state. (c) Marriage is a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman, which, when the legal capacity and consent of both parties is present, establishes their relationship as husband and wife, and which is recognized by the state as a civil contract. (d) No marriage license shall be issued in the State of Alabama to parties of the same sex. (e) 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.
(Act 98-500, §§1, 2.)
(a) Generally. Marriages may be solemnized by any licensed minister of the gospel in regular communion with the Christian church or society of which the minister is a member; by an active or retired judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Civil Appeals, any circuit court, or any district court within this state; by a judge of any federal court; or by an active or retired judge of probate. (b) Pastor of religious society; clerk of society to maintain register of marriages; register, etc., deemed presumptive evidence of fact. Marriage may also be solemnized by the pastor of any religious society according to the rules ordained or custom established by such society. The clerk or keeper of the minutes of each society shall keep a register and enter therein a particular account of all marriages solemnized by the society, which register, or a sworn copy thereof, is presumptive evidence of the fact. (c) Quakers, Mennonites, or other religious societies. The people called Mennonites, Quakers, or any other Christian society having similar rules or regulations, may solemnize marriage according to their forms by consent of the parties, published and declared before the congregation assembled for public worship.
(Code 1852, §§1946-1948; Code 1867, §§2335-2337; Code 1876, §§2674-2676; Code 1886, §§2311-2313; Code 1896, §§2841-2843; Code 1907, §§4881-4883; Code 1923, §§8995-8997; Code 1940, T. 34, §§6-8; Acts 1988, No. 88-551, p. 867; Act 2003-303, p. 721, §1; Act 2004-485, p. 903, §1.)