Every state has a list of conditions that disqualify a couple from getting married, including blood relations, age, and bigamy. States also have specific grounds for annulment, which allow for a quick end to a marriage without the expense or stigma of divorce. Laws in Georgia related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages are similar to those of other states.
Under Georgia law, it is prohibited for closely related relatives to marry. Like all other states, at some point in history, Georgia has also prohibited same-sex marriages. However, a Supreme Court ruling in 2015 found that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection guarantee.
What Is the Difference Between a Civil Annulment and a Divorce?
An annulment is a declaration by a court that a marriage is invalid. In other words, an annulled marriage is a marriage that never should have been allowed in the first place. The process of annulment effectively "erases" the union as if it never happened. Divorce, on the other hand, is the dissolution of a valid marriage. In Georgia, grounds for annulment include fraud and lack of consent.
Georgia, as do other states, lists certain conditions and relationships that disqualify a couple from getting married in the first place. These include having an existing blood or marriage relationship (such as first cousins or in-laws) or more than one spouse (bigamy).
Couples must also be above a certain age before they can be legally married. Georgia law requires individuals be either a legal adult or at least 17 years old and emancipated to be legally married.
Georgia Laws Related to Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages
The main provisions of Georgia's laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages are listed in the table below. See Annulments - Overview to learn more.
- Marriages involving people of certain degrees of familial relation are prohibited. Examples of such marriages are marriages between parents and children, parents and step-children, and siblings. For more information, please review the statute that is linked immediately above.
- Under § 19-3-1.1, common law marriages entered into after 1997 are prohibited. For more information about common law marriages, consider reviewing FindLaw's "What is a Common Law Marriage?"
- Under § 19-3-5, other types of marriage are prohibited, as well. Examples of the types of marriage that are prohibited under this law are marriages between people that are not capable of consent due to a variety of issues or people who are fraudulently induced to enter a marriage.
- Under § 19-3-7, marriages between people who are forced to enter into the marriage are prohibited.
- Under § 19-3-2, marriages must be between people who are over the age of majority (18), unless those people are emancipated or the consent of a parent or guardian has been obtained. Marriages of people who are under age are prohibited, unless those people are emancipated or the consent of a parent or guardian has been obtained.
|Grounds for Annulment
||For reasons why marriages qualify for civil annulments, please review the list of prohibited marriages under "Prohibited Marriages." It is immediately above.
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
|Legitimacy of Children
||Children born to legally invalid marriages or marriages that have been annulled are considered legitimate.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages:
- At Georgia Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages.
- At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages: Related Resources
For more information, consider reviewing the following resources, as well:
Legal Questions About Marriage or Annulment? An Attorney Can Help
Divorce can be confusing and emotionally draining, but you don't need to face it alone. A lawyer can help guide you through the process, minimizing threats and uncertainty along the way. Contact a qualified Georgia family law attorney today to learn about your legal options.