Getting Married in Georgia

Getting married may be the happiest day of your life, but it’s also a serious one from a legal point of view. By law, before you can be legally married, there are forms to be filled out, legal criteria to be met, and certain procedures to follow. 

The last thing you want to hear after saying “I do” is “your marriage isn’t valid”! That could really put a damper on your marital excitement and create major hassles for you legally.

Here are some of the most common questions people have about getting married in Georgia.

Do I Meet The Legal Criteria For Getting Married?

There are a few circumstances where you are not allowed to get married in Georgia. If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you cannot marry:

  • Are you under 17 years of age? That’s the minimum age to get married and you’ll still need parental consent if you’re under 18.
  • Are you still married to someone else? It’s against the law for you to be married to multiple people (bigamy)
  • Are you related to the person you want to marry? Georgia law says it’s OK for first and second cousins to marry, but forbids marriage between parent/child, parent/stepchild, uncle/niece, aunt/nephew, and grandparent/grandchild.
  • Do you suffer from severe mental health issues or lack the mental capacity to get married?

Note that there is no blood test required to get married in Georgia, so there is no physical condition that would stop you from getting a license. Also, because of the Obergefell Supreme Court decision, same-sex marriage is legal in Georgia.

What Are The Two Things I Need To Be Legally Married?

In order for your marriage to be legal and above board, you must have a license and you must have a ceremony performed.

Getting a marriage license is fairly easy. If at least one party is a resident of Georgia, you may apply at any county Probate Court office in the state. If neither party lives in Georgia, you apply in the county you plan to get married in.

To obtain a license, both parties must appear in person. You will need several pieces of information to fill out the marriage application. These include a valid ID for both parties, your parent’s birth information, and the date and place of the marriage. Unless you look significantly older than 25, it would also be a good idea to bring a birth certificate proving your age.

If you are divorced, you will need to bring a certified copy of the final judgment of your divorce case that shows the judge’s signature and the date. If you are widowed, you must bring a death certificate when you come to apply for a marriage license.

Next, it’s time for a ceremony. Whether you’re getting a church wedding or standing before a justice of the peace, make sure the person officiating your wedding is legally able to do so and that they sign the license. Otherwise, you will need two witnesses.

Congratulations! With no expiration date, your marriage is good through sickness and health, until death do you part (unless you decide to divorce, but we’ll talk about that in another blog)!

Attention to detail is important if you’re thinking about getting married in Georgia. You’re going through a legal process first and foremost, and making a mistake can cause a lot of pain down the road.

Family Matters Law Group is a practice that has been helping clients across the Atlanta metro area for years. If you’re in Henry, Clayton, or Fayette counties, and need help with a marriage issue, let us know. Contact us today — we’re ready to hear your story and fight for you!