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  • Gustavo Richards
    Gustavo Richards

    5 Secrets About Georgia Marriage Licenses

    Why Georgia's Marriage License is Special

    Ah, Georgia! Renowned for its peaches, Southern hospitality, and its unique marriage licensing system. Yes, you read that correctly! If you're looking to tie the knot in the Peach State, understanding the ins and outs of Georgia's marriage license process is crucial.

    As surprising as it may sound, Georgia's marriage license regulations aren't as straightforward as one might expect. While many couples rush into the process without proper knowledge, a thorough understanding can save you a great deal of time and potential stress.

    According to a 2019 report by the Georgia Department of Public Health, there were over 80,000 marriages in the state. Yet, many of these couples likely missed out on little-known benefits or encountered unforeseen challenges. So, let's dive deep into Georgia's marriage license intricacies.

    1. The Application Process: Beyond the Basics

    At first glance, applying for a marriage license in Georgia seems simple. However, the complexity is hidden in the details. Let's break it down.

    All counties in Georgia require couples to appear in person at the county Probate Court. The catch? There's no statewide system for marriage licensing. This means that each county might have its own specific requirements or variations in fees.

    The essential documents you'd need include valid photo identification, like a driver's license or a passport. Both parties must be present, but did you know there's a potential discount for couples? According to a study by the University of Georgia, couples who attend a premarital education program can enjoy a significant discount on the license fee.

    This move, endorsed by the state, aims to promote healthier relationships and reduce divorce rates. It's a win-win for couples looking to strengthen their bond and save some bucks!

    Additionally, while Georgia does not impose a waiting period for the license, some counties might take a day or two to process your application. Patience is essential.

    One last tidbit? If you were previously married, some counties might request documentation of the divorce decree. Keep that in mind to avoid any hiccups.

    2. The Surprising Age Requirements

    Age, they say, is just a number. But in Georgia, it's a number that matters quite a bit when it comes to marriage licenses.

    The standard legal age for marriage without parental consent is 18. Yet, Georgia has some exceptions that many are unaware of. For example, if you're 16 or 17, you can still get hitched, but with parental consent. But, there's a twist.

    As revealed in a survey by the Georgia Family Law Institute, many couples are unaware that Georgia requires not just verbal consent but a written affidavit, attested by a notary. This document should state the parents' or guardians' full approval of the union.

    Another surprise? In cases of pregnancy or childbirth, Georgia law allows for exceptions to the age rule. However, this involves a complex legal procedure, including a petition to the superior court.

    What's more, even though the age of marriage can be as low as 16 with conditions, couples should remember that the age of sexual consent in Georgia is 16. It's crucial to know these distinctions to avoid potential legal issues.

    3. Covenant Marriage: Georgia's Unique Offering

    Beyond the traditional marriage license lies a concept many Georgians might be unfamiliar with: the Covenant Marriage License. This isn't just a fancier name; it's a commitment of a higher degree.

    Introduced as a means to strengthen marital bonds, a Covenant Marriage requires couples to undergo counseling before tying the knot. The purpose? To ensure they fully understand the nature and responsibilities of marriage.

    A Georgia State University study found that couples in Covenant Marriages had a slightly lower rate of divorce compared to those in regular marriages. This might be due to the intensive preparation and commitment that's emphasized in the counseling sessions.

    However, obtaining a Covenant Marriage license isn't for everyone. It involves additional time, paperwork, and sometimes extra costs. It's a choice for those willing to put in the effort for a potentially stronger marital foundation.

    4. The Misconceptions about Blood Tests

    There's a lingering myth about the need for blood tests when applying for a marriage license in Georgia. Let's clear the air.

    Once upon a time, Georgia did require blood tests for couples seeking a marriage license. This was primarily to check for Rubella, commonly known as German Measles. The concern was to prevent potential birth defects should the couple have children.

    However, with advances in medical science and vaccinations, the state of Georgia eliminated this requirement in the late 20th century. As per the Georgia Health Department, today, no blood tests are required for a marriage license application in Georgia. Yet, the myth persists, catching many off-guard.

    So, rest easy. No needles involved in your journey to marital bliss in Georgia!

    5. Residency, Fees, and Other Fine Details

    As we near the end of our deep dive, let's tackle some final key points about obtaining a marriage license in Georgia.

    Residency isn't a deal-breaker in Georgia. Non-residents can apply for a marriage license but must do so in the county where the marriage ceremony will take place. Georgia residents, however, have the freedom to apply in any county and marry anywhere within the state.

    As for the fees, they vary. Generally, they range from $50 to $80. But remember our tip about the premarital education program? With a certificate from such a program, couples can enjoy a discount, often making the fee as low as $20.

    Lastly, after your big day, don't forget to return the license to the issuing county for recording. Only then will you receive your official marriage certificate.

    Marriage is a journey, and every journey begins with a step. In Georgia, that step involves understanding the intricacies of the marriage license. Armed with this knowledge, you're well-prepared for a smooth start to your marital adventure.


    • Georgia Department of Public Health. Annual Marriage Report, 2019.
    • University of Georgia. Marriage and Family Dynamics, 2020.
    • Georgia Family Law Institute. Marriage Laws and Regulations, 2018.

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