Deciding to get married is one of the most significant choices that you'll make in your lifetime. Getting married in Georgia isn't terribly different than marrying in any other state because state marriage laws typically mirror each other. However, understanding the state's specific marriage laws will ensure that you're ready for your Georgia nuptials.
Georgia Marriage Laws at a Glance
Although it's valuable to know every facet of the law in a statute to understand key points, it's also beneficial to read a plain language explanation of the statute. See the chart below for a synopsis of Georgia's marriage laws including links to the relevant statutes.
Validity of Marriage
A legal marriage in Georgia requires the following:
- The parties can enter a contract;
- An actual contract; and
- Consummation of the marriage.
The Parties' Ability to Contract
A party may contract under the following conditions:
- The party is of sound mind;
- At least 18 years old (except for certain situations);
- Has no living spouse of a previous undissolved marriage; and
- Isn't related to the prospective spouse by blood or marriage within a certain degree.
Actual Contract: Getting married is an actual contract between the spouses; the parties to marry.
Consummation: Achieved by obtaining a marriage license and participating in the ceremony performed by an authorized person.
Types of Marriage
Since you must be at least 18 years old to marry without consent, there are state law requirements for a marriage involving a minor. In Georgia, if a minor (at least 16) wants to marry, they can only get married with parental consent. However, a minor can get a marriage license without parental consent in the event of pregnancy or the birth of a child.
Same Sex Marriage
Although the Georgia statute states that same sex marriages are against public policy, same sex marriage became valid in every state (including Georgia) by a Supreme Court decision in 2015.
Common Law Marriage
Although Georgia abolished common law marriage in 1996, the state does recognize a common law marriage from another state or any common law marriage that was valid in Georgia prior to 1996.
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.
Georgia Marriage Laws: Related Resources
Discuss Marriage Laws with a Georgia Family Law Attorney
Although getting married can be viewed as officially establishing a loving connection, it also establishes a legal connection. If you're getting married, make sure that you're aware of how Georgia's marriage laws can impact you and your intended spouse. Discuss any possible marital issues with an experienced family law attorney before it's too late. Use FindLaw's attorney directory to locate one in your area.