A marriage license may be issued to a man and a woman under the following conditions and procedures:
- If one of the parties is a resident of Georgia, the license can be issued in any county.
- If neither party is a resident of Georgia, the license must be issued in the county in which the marriage ceremony is to be performed
- The parties must be of sound mind, must have no living spouse from an undissolved prior marriage, and must not be related in a degree prohibited by law.
- If a person has been married before and the marriage ended with the death of a spouse, a certified copy of a death certificate for the former spouse is required. If a divorce ended the marriage, proof of the divorce is required. A signed copy (Judge’s signature) of the final judgment and decree is required.
- Persons related by blood or marriage, falling within the following relationships may not be married in Georgia: (1) father and daughter or stepdaughter, (2) mother and son or stepson, (3) brother and sister of the whole blood or half blood, (4) grandparent and grandchild, (5) aunt and nephew, and (6) uncle and niece.
- If the parties are at least 18 years of age, they may apply without parental consent. If either or both parties are less than 18 years of age, but at least 16 years of age, the parties may apply only with parental consent of the underage party or parties1. Both parents must give written consent unless his/her rights have been terminated by an Order of a court. If the parents are married to each other, both parents have to sign. If they are divorced, the parent with custody must sign. Proof of custody on the minor may be requested. A marriage license cannot be issued to anyone under the age of 16.
- Both parties must be present with proof of age.
Premarital Education Program
The premarital education shall include at least six hours of instruction involving marital issues, which may include but not be limited to conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child and parenting responsibilities, and extended family roles. The premarital education shall be completed within 12 months prior to the application for a marriage license and the couple shall undergo the premarital education together. The premarital education shall be performed by:
- A professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 10A of Title 43;
- A psychiatrist who is licensed as a physician pursuant to Chapter 34 of Title 43;
- A psychologist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 39 of Title 43; or
- An active member of the clergy when in the course of his or her service as clergy or his or her designee, including retired clergy, provided that a designee is trained and skilled in premarital education.
Surname (Last Name)
The applicants must designate on the application the legal surname that will be used after the marriage. An applicant may choose his or her given surname or his or her surname as changed by order of the superior court, the surname from a previous marriage, the spouse’s surname, or a combination of the spouse’s surname and the applicant’s given or changed surname or surname from a previous marriage.
As of July 1, 2003, premarital blood tests are no longer required. The State of Georgia, however, recommends that each applicant applying for a marriage license obtain a blood test for sickle cell disease prior to obtaining a marriage license. Please click here to access an informational brochure on sickle cell disease.
The cost of the marriage license is $76. If the couple presents the “Certification of Completion of Qualifying Premarital Education” to the court at the time the license is issued, the cost will be $36. Certified copy and certificate will be ready for mailing within 10 business days following the date it was returned to the office.
Having the Probate Judge Officiate your Marriage Ceremony
The Probate Judge does perform marriage ceremonies at the courthouse free of charge. If you would like to schedule an appointment to get married by the Judge, please call the office at 912-489-8749 with the desired date and time. It is imperative that you schedule an appointment to ensure that the Judge will be available. Do not assume that the Probate Judge will be able to perform your wedding when you come in to obtain your marriage license.
1 As of 7-1-2006, a doctor’s statement as proof of pregnancy or birth certificate of a child for any person under the age of 18 wishing to marry in Georgia will no longer accepted. An emancipated adult must have parental consent to marry (OCGA 15-11-208).