Rockdale’s Constitutional Corner: What are the requirements for a marriage license in Georgia?

August 31, 20175min2210
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Written by Rockdale County Probate Judge Clarence Cuthpert, Jr.

Rockdale County residents who desire to be married can apply for a marriage license in probate court. At least one of the parties must be a resident of the county or a resident of Georgia. If neither party is a resident of Georgia, the license must be issued in the county where the marriage ceremony will be performed.

A marriage license is issued based upon a written application verified by the oath of the applicants. A blood tests is not required. When you arrive at the court, you’ll need a valid photo identification such as your driver’s license or passport. If your identifying documents are printed in a language other than English, you’ll need to present a certified, translated copy to the court. 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.

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 either party has been previously married, a copy of the final divorce decree must be presented to the Court. 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 parties. Both parents must give written consent unless his or her rights have been terminated by an Order of a court.

Under Georgia Law, a couple who presents to the court at the time of making application a certificate of completion of a qualifying premarital education program shall reduce the cost of the marriage license by $40. The cost without pre-marital counseling is $56. If the official certificate is not presented to the Court, any document submitted as proof of completion must be on official letterhead. No photocopies will be accepted. The premarital education shall include at least six hours of instruction involving marital issues, which may include, but are 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 any of the following who are licensed pursuant to Georgia law: a professional counselor, social worker or marriage and family therapist; a psychiatrist;, a psychologist, 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 the designee is trained and skilled in premarital education.

Throughout each month, Rockdale County’s constitutional officers— sheriff, clerk of courts, tax commissioner and probate judge—discuss topics relevant to their respective offices.

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