Yet in other states, common law marriages are only recognized by the state upon the death of one of the spouses. If the common law marriage is valid in the state, it will be considered a marriage for inheritance functions only. Even though some states recognize common-law marriage, there is no common-law divorce those states. If a couple married at common-law wishes to terminate their marriage, they must do more than stop living as husband and wife to consider the marriage over.
The marriage may not end the same way it was created, instead, there must be a formal procedure and legal process.
Parties must file a complaint with the court to terminate their marriage; forms may be for divorce, dissolution of marriage or annulment depending on the state law and the situation. The specific requirements vary by jurisdiction and are contained in state statute. The divorce complaint may also include provisions for distribution of property or assets, spousal maintenance or alimony and custody. It is important to speak to an attorney in your jurisdiction to learn more about the laws regarding common-law marriage and termination of common-law marriage in your state.
Seek competent counsel for advice on any legal matter. Search for: Search:. Contact Us Today For Help! You can choose to make your request either in person or by mail. If you choose to request your marriage certificate by mail, send payment by check and money order along with the required information to: Shelby County Clerk, Washington Ave. This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise.
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Related Articles. After Obergefell v. Hodges , several Alabama counties initially would not issue marriage licenses to any couples in order to avoid issuing them to same-sex couples. A year after the Supreme Court ruling only twelve counties would either issue licenses to no one or only to opposite-sex couples.
Bill to eliminate marriage licenses progresses at Alabama State House | WBMA
By , this number had dropped to only eight counties, with all eight refusing to issue licenses to anyone. In May , the Alabama legislature passed a bill replacing marriage licenses with marriage certificates in order to keep probate judges from violating their consciences and so that the remaining counties would resume marrying couples. These final eight counties began issuing marriage certificates to all couples on August 29, Before the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v.
Hodges on June 26, which held that the United States Constitution requires every state to recognize and license same-sex marriage, the legal status of same-sex marriage in Alabama had been the subject of a long legal battle. Federal court orders in two cases took effect on February 9, , and 47 of the state's 67 counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples that day or shortly thereafter, despite an order from Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore not to do so.
The other counties either issued licenses only to opposite-sex couples or stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether. In both cases, a U. District Court had found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Supreme Court had declined state officials' requests for a stay. On March 3, , the Alabama Supreme Court , ruling in a different case, ordered the state's probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and they promptly complied, though a number of them refused to issue any marriage licenses at all. At least same-sex couples married between February 9 and March 3, Advocates for same-sex marriage rights responded with renewed efforts in federal court, and on May 21, , a federal court ruled that all probate judges were obliged not to refuse to issue marriage licenses on the basis of the applicants being of the same sex, but stayed its ruling pending action by the U.
Supreme Court. Previously, the state banned the licensing of same-sex marriages and the recognition of such marriages from other jurisdictions by executive order of the Governor in , by statute in , and by constitutional amendment in June On August 29, , Governor Fob James issued Executive Order 24 banning same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states or foreign countries.
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On April 9, , the Alabama State House voted 79—12 in favor of a ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states or foreign countries. On April 13, , the Alabama State Senate approved the bill in a 30—0 vote.
On March 8, , the Alabama State House voted 85—7 in favor of Amendment , a constitutional amendment to the Constitution of Alabama which bans same-sex marriage and a "union replicating marriage of or between persons of the same sex" in the state. On March 11, , the Alabama State Senate approved the bill in a 30—0 vote. A plaintiff couple filed suit on June 10, , seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage.
Supreme Court in other cases. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on behalf of Paul Hard challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, both in its statutes and Constitution. Fancher died in an accident on August 1. The suit, originally Hard v. Bentley , named the Governor as principal defendant, as well as several other government officials.
Supreme Court in same-sex marriage cases then scheduled for review.
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On July 1, , Hard asked the court to lift its stay and release the wrongful death proceeds due him, citing the U. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell. Pat Fancher appealed the District Court's ruling against her. Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit, originally Searcy v.
Bentley , on May 7, , seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage and step-parent adoption for their minor son. Granade [a] of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [b] ruled that Alabama's refusal to license and recognize same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. She ordered the state Attorney General to stop enforcing those bans. The plaintiffs' attorneys hoped the state would comply, though other LGBT rights advocates anticipated further litigation.
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Legislative leaders denounced the ruling of "a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge" or saw the ruling as evidence that "traditional values espoused by Alabamians have begun to erode even in our conservative state. They cited at length a ruling involving the same group of government officials that had ended enforcement of Alabama's anti-miscegenation statute, United States v. Brittain , which extended a ruling from one inter-racial couple who sought a marriage license and "requir[ed] the Attorney General of the State of Alabama to advise the Judges of Probate of the several counties of Alabama" to cease enforcement of an invalid law.
On January 26, Attorney General Strange filed notice of appeal in the Eleventh Circuit,  and asked for a stay of the district court's ruling pending appeal. Scott that those who fail to comply will bear the costs of additional suits that will produce the same result and, still quoting Hinkle: "There should be no debate On January 27, , Judge Granade ruled in favor of a male couple seeking the right to marry in Alabama.
She stayed her ruling temporarily, setting the stay to expire on February 9 with her stay in Searcy. Strawser and John E. Humphrey, had filed their suit in September without assistance of counsel after being denied a marriage license at the Mobile County Courthouse in July. At a half-hour hearing before Judge Granade on December 18, , each of them testified and Strawser questioned their only other witness, Bishop David M.
James W. Davis of the Attorney General's office cross-examined all three. The Alabama Probate Judges Association issued a statement on January 24 that said "There is nothing in the judge's order [in Searcy ] that requires probate judges in Alabama to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples". Bentley , in which he said that: .
Our State Constitution and our morality are under attack by a federal court decision that has no basis in the Constitution of the United States. Nothing in the United States Constitution grants to the Federal Government the authority to desecrate the institution of marriage. He welcomed the recent letter from the Probate Judges Association and warned any judge who might issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple that "the issuance of such licenses would be in defiance of the laws and Constitution of Alabama.
District Court rulings, he wrote to the Governor: "Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issue without constitutional authority. As Governor, I must uphold the Constitution. The Federal Government must not infringe on the rights of states. Once Judge Granade clarified her order on January 28, the Probate Judges Association acknowledged that her order in Searcy , if lifted, requires them to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and said it would encourage its members to comply. Supreme Court in same-sex marriage cases it has accepted for review.
On February 5, the Alabama Department of Public Health provided the state's probate courts with a revised marriage license application form that replaced the terms bride and groom with spouse and spouse. Moore sent an order to probate judges and state employees late on February 8, the day before Granade's order was set to take effect, threatening legal action by the Governor against anyone who complied with her order. Granade's orders in Searcy and Strawser took effect on February 9. Just as state offices were opening that morning, the U. That morning, Attorney General Strange issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court's action disclaiming responsibility for the issuing of marriage licenses and advising probate judges to consult their own legal counsel.
Bentley announced he agreed with Moore's statement and Thomas' dissent, but would take no action against any probate judge based on the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Republican U. Senator Jeff Sessions commented on February 9: "I think it's an unhealthy trend that judges feel that they're somehow reflecting popular opinion when first of all, it's not popular opinion, and secondly, who are they to be ruling on cases based on how they feel.
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Ending the first day of legal same-sex marriage in Alabama, the Strawser plaintiffs, whose pro se suit had originally named only the Attorney General as defendant after they had been denied a marriage license in Mobile County, amended their suit to add Davis as a defendant and add three other same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses from Mobile County as plaintiffs.