Are you looking to get married in the state of Georgia? If so, congratulations! Marriage is an exciting time for everyone, but the legal side of things can sometimes be confusing. If you’re wondering about how to get a marriage license in GA, we can provide some clarity.
We also provide additional wedding tips and tricks on our website. If you ever need wedding toast tips, dress code tips, or marriage license advice for other states, we can help.
How to Get a Marriage License in GA: Application Process
Applying for a marriage license in the state of Georgia is a relatively straightforward process. All you need to do is visit your county court office, fill out the related paperwork, and submit it within 30 days of the ceremony. While the state of Georgia makes the process pretty easy, there are still a few rules and regulations you’ll need to follow.
Bride and Groom Requirements
At the state level, Georgia has a few rules that govern exactly who can get married. For example, you must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a marriage license within the state. You must also be of sound mind, and you must not have a living spouse from a previous (valid) marriage. 17-year-old minors can sometimes receive a marriage license as long as they meet certain criteria.
While first cousins can marry in Georgia, anyone genetically closer cannot.
Required Documents and Fees
Fortunately for Georgia residents, the marriage license application process is relatively cheap. While the exact amount may vary slightly from county to county, the application fee is about $56 on average.
However, the couple can reduce this fee by an extra $40 by completing a state-run marriage education program before they obtain a marriage license. This course is about six hours long, and the couple must provide a signed certificate of completion to receive the full discount.
Both the bride and groom-to-be must also bring several legal documents with them to the marriage license application appointment. The first is proof of age, such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, or any similar document.
If either the bride or groom was divorced or widowed in a previous marriage, they might need to bring extra documents. Previous divorcees may not need to bring their divorce decree unless the divorce happened less than 30 days prior, but they may want to consider bringing it anyway. Widows and widowers may wish to bring an obituary or death certificate for similar reasons.
Online Marriage Application
The beginning of the marriage application process can be completed online in most Georgia counties. Essentially, this speeds the marriage license application process once you get to the courthouse since the court will already have most of your information on hand.
You’ll need to have certain information handy to complete the online marriage application, including the following for both the bride and the groom:
- First, middle, and last names
- Street addresses
- Phone numbers
- Dates of birth
- Social Security Numbers
- Places of birth
- Names, addresses, and birthplaces of both parents (including mothers’ maiden names)
- Chosen surnames
- Family relations between the bride and groom (if applicable)
- Last names at the time of birth
- Intended date and location of the marriage ceremony
In-Person Appointment Process
If you’re wondering how to get a marriage license in GA on short notice, you may be out of luck. While some Georgia counties allow walk-in appointments to complete your marriage license application, many others require you to make an appointment in advance.
Don’t forget that you and your spouse both need to attend the appointment, regardless of whether it’s a walk-in or made in advance. If either you or your spouse is a permanent Georgia resident, you can make your appointment in any Georgia county and marry in any Georgia county. However, if neither of you lives in Georgia, you must visit the court in the county you’ll be married in.
Once you do attend your appointment, you’ll receive your marriage license on the same day. Plus, in the state of Georgia, your marriage license never expires. This means you can get the license at a time when you and your spouse-to-be are not busy, then save it for when the ceremony comes closer.
Remember, you’ll need to bring your marriage license back to your county clerk within 30 days of the ceremony. From here, they’ll process the form, and you should receive your marriage certificate in the mail within the next 30 days.
Things to Avoid
While the marriage license application process in Georgia is very easy, that doesn’t mean you should treat it as such. Your marriage license is an irreplaceable piece of the wedding process, and if you don’t get it in time, you may have to delay your ceremony! For this reason, we can’t recommend starting the process early enough, especially since your marriage license will not expire between now and your wedding day.
Additionally, you should make every effort to fill out your marriage license documentation fully and honestly. While legal charges for lying on your marriage application rarely happen, it is still technically a crime. Plus, doing this can cause further issues for yourself or your spouse in the future. In the worst case, it could even end in the invalidation of your marriage.
Finally, don’t wait to make your marriage application appointment! If your county probate court is booked out for several months with marriage license appointments, you could end up waiting a long time for yours. Even if your wedding is months or years away, don’t put this important part of the process off until the end.
We hope this post answered your questions about how to get a marriage license in GA! If you have lingering questions about your Atlanta, GA marriage license or would like to receive more advice about courthouse weddings, please don’t hesitate to sign up for our email list today. Just visit our website and input your name and email, and you’ll get useful tips and tricks sent directly to your inbox.