While proposing marriage in Georgia requires little more than asking a question, formalizing that union takes some work. There are legal requirements and administrative hurdles to overcome to make a marriage official.
There are also important legal considerations ahead of marriage, such as whether you need a prenuptial agreement to protect your business or assets, and whether there are any issues that might render the marriage void in the eyes of the law. An experienced attorney on our team can advise you on how to get married in Georgia.
State law imposes certain restrictions on the right to marry in Georgia, primarily on the age of the parties. Minors under the age of 18 cannot marry, for example. However, exceptions apply for emancipated minors who are 17 years old and marrying someone no more than four years older.
Marriage licenses are issued by county probate courts throughout Georgia. A couple might have several options when it comes to selecting a county probate court, or they may be limited to a single choice.
If either prospective spouse is a resident of Georgia at the time of seeking a marriage license, there are no limitations on which probate court the couple can use. Residents may seek a marriage license from any county in the state, no matter where they live or are planning to wed.
That is not the case for two non-residents looking to marry in GA. When two people who are not married seek a marriage license in Georgia, they can only do so in the county where they intend to marry. Both parties must apply for the license in person at the probate court of their choice.
It is not a good idea to show up to the county probate clerk empty-handed. The court will not take an applicant’s word for it that they meet the age or residency requirements. For that reason, they will need to bring some form of proof of age. This is usually done with a driver’s license, but a passport or birth certificate will also work.
It might also be necessary to bring proof of divorce. Like all states, Georgia outlaws polygamy. In order for a person to get married, any previous marriage must be legally dissolved. If a person has married previously in GA, it may be necessary to bring a copy of the divorce decree. This is especially true for divorces that occurred in the last 30 days.
Finally, it is important to bring money. Marriage licenses are not free, and each county imposes its own fees. It is possible to reduce the cost of a marriage license by going through a pre-marital educational program.
Even though you are headed toward marital bliss, it might not be a bad idea to speak to an attorney before tying the knot. A lawyer can help you evaluate your legal needs prior to marriage, including whether a prenuptial agreement is in your best interests.
If you are preparing for your wedding and have questions about your legal rights and obligations, reach out to our firm right away.