Bryan Probate Court
Marriage License Requirements
Marriage is a significant milestone in many people’s lives, symbolizing love, commitment, and the start of a new journey together. However, before the vows are exchanged and the celebrations begin, there’s an important legal aspect that needs to be addressed – obtaining a marriage license. In the state of Georgia, this process comes with certain requirements and fees that couples should be aware of. Let’s dive into the details and ensure you’re well-prepared for your big day.
Understanding the Basics: Marriage License Application
Before you can tie the knot in Georgia, you need to obtain a marriage license. This essential document allows your union to be legally recognized. Here’s what you need to know:
Requirements for a Marriage License:
- Identification (ID) for Each Applicant: Both parties need to provide valid identification. Accepted IDs include a driver’s license, state ID, resident alien ID, military ID, or passport.
- Translation Services: If either applicant doesn’t speak fluent English, a court-approved translator is required for the application.
- Documents for Previous Marriages: If either applicant has been previously married, certified copies of divorce papers (if divorced) or a certified copy of the death certificate (if widowed) must be provided.
- Additional Personal Information: You’ll need to provide parents’ birthplace (city and state), mother’s maiden name, the bride’s full name after marriage, date, and place of marriage.
Marriage License Fees:
The marriage license application fee varies based on whether you undergo pre-marital counseling:
- Without Pre-Marital Counseling: The application fee is $56.
- With Pre-Marital Counseling: If you complete a pre-marital counseling course, the fee reduces to $16. Don’t forget to bring the certificate of completion.
Scheduling and Appointments:
It’s advisable to contact your local Bryan County Probate Court well in advance to determine office hours and availability. Some areas might require appointments.
Residency and Waiting Period
Residency Requirement: You don’t have to be a resident of Georgia to get married within the state.
Waiting Period: Georgia doesn’t impose a waiting period for marriage. Once you have your license, you can proceed with the ceremony.
Proxy, Cousin, and Common-Law Marriages
Proxy Marriages: Proxy marriages are not allowed in Georgia. Both parties must be physically present at the ceremony.
Cousin Marriages: First and second cousins are legally allowed to marry in Georgia.
Common-Law Marriages: While common-law marriages aren’t recognized if formed after January 1, 1997, those formed before that date are acknowledged.
Marriage Age and Proof of Age
Marriage Age Requirements:
- Both applicants must be 18 years or older to marry without parental consent.
- If an applicant is 16 or 17 years old, a license can be issued with written parental consent. No license is issued to applicants under 16.
Proof of Age:
Acceptable proof of age includes:
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Baptismal certificate
- Court records
- Other official documents as specified by law
Choosing Your Name After Marriage
Georgia law requires applicants to choose a legal surname after marriage. Options include:
- Present surname
- Surname from a previous marriage
- Spouse’s surname
- Combination of the two spouses’ surnames
Remember that obtaining a marriage license with a new name doesn’t automatically change your name. If you want to change your name, consider using an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Officiants, Witnesses, and Expiration
Officiants: Licensed ministers, clergy, pastors of recognized religious societies, and justices of the peace can officiate weddings.
Witnesses: Two witnesses are required if the officiant doesn’t complete the form.
Expiration Date: Georgia marriage licenses don’t have an expiration date.
Online Application and Contact Information
If you prefer convenience, you can apply for your marriage license online through the Georgia Probate Record website. For in-person applications or inquiries, you can contact the following:
Bryan County Probate Court: 151 South College Street Pembroke, GA 31321 Phone: (912) 653-3856 Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.), Monday – Friday (except for Court Approved Holidays)
Navigating the intricacies of obtaining a marriage license is an essential step on the journey to marriage. By understanding the requirements, fees, and procedures in Georgia, you can ensure that your special day is legally sound and filled with joy. Remember to plan ahead, gather the necessary documents, and follow the guidelines provided by your local Bryan County Probate Court.
1. Can we get married in Georgia if we’re not residents? Absolutely! You don’t have to be a Georgia resident to marry in the state.
2. Is pre-marital counseling mandatory? No, it’s not mandatory. However, completing pre-marital counseling can significantly reduce the application fee.
3. Are proxy marriages allowed in Georgia? No, Georgia doesn’t permit proxy marriages. Both parties must be present.
4. What if one of us is underage? If either applicant is 16 or 17 years old, parental consent is required for marriage.
5. Can we change our names immediately after getting the license? While your new name can be on the license, you’ll need to follow legal procedures to officially change your name after marriage.