Laurens Probate Court
Marriage License Requirements
Are you planning to tie the knot in the beautiful state of Georgia? Before you say “I do,” it’s essential to understand the intricacies of obtaining a marriage license. From application requirements to fees and more, we’ve got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process, ensuring that your journey to marital bliss starts off on the right foot.
What is a Marriage License?
A marriage license is a legal document that allows a couple to get married. It’s a crucial step in the journey to wedded bliss, as it grants you the legal right to marry within the state. Without this document, your marriage would not be recognized by law.
The Importance of a Marriage License
Obtaining a marriage license is more than just a bureaucratic formality; it’s a vital step in ensuring the legitimacy and legality of your marriage. This document provides proof that you and your partner meet the necessary criteria to be wed under the state’s laws.
Marriage License Application: Step by Step
To apply for a marriage license, both you and your partner need to provide valid identification. This can include a driver’s license, state ID, resident alien ID, military ID, or passport.
Language Barrier? No Problem!
If either of you doesn’t speak fluent English, don’t worry! You can still apply for a marriage license. A court-approved translator will be needed to assist in the application process.
Previous Marriages: Divorce and Widowhood
If either applicant has been previously married, you’ll need to provide certified copies of divorce papers or a death certificate if you’re widowed.
Details about your parents, such as birthplace (city and state), and your mother’s maiden name, will be required.
The Bride’s New Name
Georgia law requires applicants to designate the legal surname they will use after marriage. This could be a present or previous surname, or even the spouse’s surname.
Marriage License Fees in Georgia
Standard Application Fee
The application fee for a marriage license in Georgia is $56 if you don’t undergo pre-marital counseling.
Reduced Fee with Premarital Counseling
If you choose to undergo pre-marital counseling, the application fee drops to $16. However, you must provide a certificate of completion for the counseling course.
There’s also a $10 charge for the certified copy of the marriage license, which is mailed to you after recording. Additionally, there’s a $10 fee for the certified copy of the license application for the Social Security Administration.
Marriage Waiting Period and Residency Requirements
No Waiting Period
Unlike some states, there is no waiting period for getting married in Georgia. You can apply and receive your license on the same day.
You don’t have to be a resident of Georgia to apply for a marriage license in the state. This is great news for couples planning destination weddings.
Who Can Officiate Your Wedding?
Licensed or ordained ministers, clergymen, pastors of recognized religious societies, and justices of the peace can officiate your wedding in Georgia.
Witnesses and Expiration
You’ll need two witnesses to the ceremony if the person performing the ceremony doesn’t complete the form. This is necessary to obtain the marriage certificate.
Expiration of Marriage License
Surprisingly, the marriage license in Georgia does not have an expiration date. However, it’s a good idea to marry within a reasonable timeframe after obtaining the license.
Marriage Age and Proof of Age
Both 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, they can get a license with the written consent of their parents.
Proof of Age Documents
Acceptable documents to prove age include birth certificates, driver’s licenses, baptismal certificates, selective service cards, and more.
Marriage Blood Test and Name Change
No Blood Test Required
As of July 1, 2003, blood tests are no longer required in Georgia for marriage license applications.
Changing Your Name
If you want to change your last name after marriage, obtaining a marriage license with your new name on it is just the beginning. You’ll need to follow the appropriate legal steps to update your name on various documents.
Common Law Marriages and Proxy Marriages
Common law marriages are not recognized in Georgia if they were created after January 1, 1997. Proxy marriages are also not allowed in the state.
Marriage License Application Online
Thanks to technology, you can now apply for a marriage license online through Georgia’s Probate Record website, making the process more convenient than ever.
Georgia Marriage Officiants
Licensed ministers, clergymen, pastors, and justices of the peace are authorized to officiate weddings in Georgia.
Getting Your Marriage Certificate
Once you’re married, you’ll receive a certified copy of your marriage license. Remember to contact your local county Probate Court to inquire about the days and hours the Clerk will be available.
Obtaining a marriage license is a crucial step on your journey to marriage. It’s not only a legal requirement but also a symbol of your commitment and love for each other. By understanding the application process, fees, and other requirements, you can ensure a smooth and successful start to your married life.
- Can we apply for a marriage license online? Yes, Georgia allows you to apply for a marriage license online through the Probate Record website.
- Is there a waiting period for getting married in Georgia? No, there is no waiting period for getting married in the state of Georgia.
- Do we need witnesses for our wedding ceremony? If the officiant doesn’t complete the form, you’ll need two witnesses to the ceremony to obtain your marriage certificate.
- Can we marry if we’re not residents of Georgia? Yes, you don’t need to be a resident of Georgia to apply for a marriage license in the state.
- What documents can we use as proof of age? Acceptable documents include birth certificates, driver’s licenses, baptismal certificates, selective service cards, and more.