Ben Hill Probate Court
Marriage License Requirements
Marriage is a significant milestone in many people’s lives, marking the union of two individuals who have chosen to embark on a shared journey. If you’re planning to tie the knot in Georgia, it’s essential to understand the marriage license fees, requirements, and other pertinent details to ensure a smooth and legal process.
Marriage is a beautiful commitment, and getting a marriage license is a crucial step in the process. Georgia, with its picturesque landscapes and charming communities, is a popular destination for weddings. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of marriage license fees and requirements in Georgia, ensuring that your wedding plans proceed without a hitch.
Marriage License Application Process
Obtaining a marriage license is a necessary step before exchanging your vows. The application process typically takes place at your local Ben Hill County Probate Court. It’s advisable to initiate this process well in advance to ensure all requirements are met before your big day.
Documents and Identification
When applying for a marriage license, both applicants must provide valid identification. This can include a driver’s license, state ID, resident alien ID, military ID, or passport. Additionally, if either applicant does not speak fluent English, a Court Approved Translator will be required.
Marriage license application fees vary depending on whether you have completed pre-marital counseling. Without pre-marital counseling, the fee is $56, while with counseling, the fee is reduced to $16. It’s important to bring a certificate of completion for the counseling course if applicable.
Marriage Waiting Period and Residency Requirements
Unlike some states, there is no waiting period for getting married in Georgia. Additionally, residency in Georgia is not a requirement for obtaining a marriage license, making it a convenient location for destination weddings.
Previous Marriages and Divorce Records
If either applicant has been previously married, certified copies of divorce papers must be presented. Similarly, if widowed, a certified copy of the death certificate is required.
Marriage License Fees
The marriage license fees in Ben Hill County are $56 without completed pre-marital education and $16 with completed education. Additionally, there is a $10 charge for the certified copy of the marriage license, which is mailed to the applicants after recording.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Proxy marriages are not recognized in Georgia, meaning both parties must be present during the application process. However, first and second cousins are legally allowed to marry in the state. As for common-law marriages, they are recognized if established before January 1, 1997.
Marriage Blood Test
As of July 1, 2003, blood tests are no longer required for marriage license applications in Georgia, simplifying the process for couples.
Name After Marriage and Name Change
Georgia law mandates that each applicant designate their legal surname after marriage. This can include retaining their present surname, using a surname from a previous marriage, adopting the spouse’s surname, or combining surnames in certain cases.
Marriage Age Requirements
Applicants must be 18 years or older to apply for a marriage license without parental consent. If either applicant is 16 or 17 years old, a license can be issued with written consent from a parent or guardian.
Proof of Age
Georgia law requires proof of age when applying for a marriage license. Acceptable documents include birth certificates, driver’s licenses, baptismal certificates, and other official identification.
Marriage Officiants and Witnesses
Licensed or ordained ministers, clergymen, pastors of recognized religious societies, and justices of the peace can officiate weddings in Georgia. If the officiant does not complete the form, two witnesses are required during the ceremony to obtain the marriage certificate.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
Unlike some states that impose an expiration date on marriage licenses, the Georgia marriage license does not expire. However, it’s recommended to complete the marriage ceremony within a reasonable timeframe.
Applying Online and Contact Information
Applying for a marriage license in Georgia has been made more convenient through online applications. For further details and to initiate the application process, visit the Georgia Probate Record website. For in-person applications and inquiries, you can contact the Ben Hill County Probate Court.
Navigating the process of obtaining a marriage license in Georgia is a vital aspect of preparing for your wedding day. By understanding the requirements, fees, and procedures involved, you can ensure that your marriage journey begins smoothly and in accordance with the state’s regulations.
- Can I apply for a marriage license online in Georgia? Yes, Georgia offers the convenience of applying for a marriage license online through the Georgia Probate Record website.
- Is there a waiting period for marriage in Georgia? No, there is no waiting period for getting married in the state of Georgia.
- Are proxy marriages allowed in Georgia? No, proxy marriages are not recognized in Georgia. Both parties must be present during the application process.
- What documents are required to prove age for a marriage license application? Acceptable documents include birth certificates, driver’s licenses, baptismal certificates, and other official identification.
- Is pre-marital counseling required for a reduced marriage license fee? Yes, completing pre-marital counseling qualifies you for a reduced fee when applying for a marriage license in Georgia.