However, if not a resident, you must apply in the county where your marriage is to be performed. If either applicant has received a divorce, he, she or both must show a copy of the final judgment and decree of most recent divorce. Some counties require payment in cash only. Please check with your local county Probate Court. However, common-law marriages will be recognized in Georgia if it was created before January 1, It is important that you verify all information with your local county Probate Court before making a trip to purchase your marriage license.
Georgia law requires each applicant to designate the legal surname he or she will use after marriage. The applicant may choose:.
Getting a marriage license with your new name on it does not mean your name has automatically changed. If you need to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit. Georgia law requires proof of age be presented at the time of making application. By law, acceptable proof of age is any of the following:. Licensed or ordained ministers, clergymen, or pastors of recognized religious societies, and justices of the peace. Only if the person performing the ceremony does not complete the form, you will need two witnesses to the ceremony in order to obtain the marriage certificate.
Apply online today here! Georgia Probate Record website will allow you to apply for your Marriage License online! Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Co-authored by Clinton M. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
Confirm that you need to get divorced. Most marriages are by license and ceremony. If a marriage certificate was filed after a church or civil ceremony, then you will need to get a divorce. Georgia has historically recognized common law marriages. Common law marriages occur when an adult couple openly lives as married, even though a marriage certificate was never filed.
Georgia Marriage License Laws
Common law marriage was outlawed in Georgia in and the law explicitly states: If you entered into a common law marriage before January 1, , it is recognized by the state. Therefore you will need to get a divorce. If you started living together without going through a marriage ceremony after January 1, , even if you told people you were married and acted married, you do not have to get a divorce.
In order to access the Georgia state court system, you must establish that you or your spouse lives in the state. Under Georgia law, there are three ways to establish the residency standing your need to file your divorce. You don't need to have lived at the same address, but had to have maintained residency in the state.
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You will swear to your residency in your petition and may be asked to prove it in court. Proof includes drivers license, voter registration, utility bills, and rent receipts. If you live in another state, you can still file for divorce in the Georgia courts if your spouse has been a resident of the state for at least six months.
If you have been a resident on any "United States army post or military reservation within this state" for at least one year, you can file for a divorce in a county adjacent to the base. Be prepared to document your residency on base or in military-controlled housing.
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Decide your county of filing. Generally, in Georgia, you file for divorce in the county where your spouse lives. If your spouse has moved out of the state, you may file in your county of residence. In an uncontested divorce where your spouse consents, you can file the divorce in your county. The state law has no specific requirement of how long you or your spouse has to live in a county before filing, but it is a good idea to wait at least 30 days to make sure you are in compliance with local rules.
Gather the information for your petition.
You need to include specific information in your divorce petition. A good way to get started is to complete the questionnaire developed by Legal Aid of Georgia.
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The staff attorneys of Legal Aid are well-versed in Georgia divorce procedure and prepared this as a guide to help in your pre-divorce planning. If a section doesn't apply to you, cross it out. Decide on name changes. If one spouse assumed the other spouse's name during the marriage, they have the choice to keep their married name or revert to their original name. Whichever spouse prepares the documents needs to take this into consideration and include it in the petition.
Prepare to pay the fees. There may be additional fees for a process server, document preparation, and for administrative costs such as copies. If you are low income, you may be eligible to have the filing fee reduced or waived by the court. This is called proceeding In Forma Pauperis. Legal Aid of Georgia has a fill-in-the-blanks application you can file with your petition.
If it is accepted by the court, your case can proceed. If it is denied, your divorce will not be put on the court's calendar until the fee is paid.
Can you marry your cousin in Georgia?
Part 1 Quiz Which scenario allows you to get a divorce in Georgia? You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived in Georgia for 3 years. You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived in Georgia for 2 months. You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived at a U. Army base in Georgia for 1 year. You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived in Georgia for 9 years.
Determine the reason for the divorce. Georgia law allows for a total of 13 different legal reasons, called grounds, for a total divorce.
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Twelve are fault-based. You will have to allege, and later prove, that your spouse did something wrong. The last, and most common, is the no-fault option, a simple statement that the marriage is "irretrievably broken. Many of these grounds date back to the original laws of over a century ago. Divorce is a very stressful time and it is not uncommon to want to punish your spouse for wrongdoing and to list as many faults as possible in the divorce petition. Before you do this, you should consider speaking with an attorney.
When fault is used as grounds for divorce, your spouse has the right to not only claim defenses and demand you provide proof for your accusations, but also file a counterclaim with allegations of fault against you. Unless an attorney counsels you that a fault-based divorce is in your best interest, such as physical violence, strongly consider using the no-fault option. Prepare your divorce petition. You will use the information from your questionnaire to prepare the divorce petition for filing with the court.
As someone who is acting without an attorney, called being pro se , you will be given deference by the court. A well-prepared divorce petition is the first step to an uncomplicated divorce. Legal Aid of Georgia has a fill-in-the-blank divorce package for agreed and uncontested divorces both without children  and with children. Georgia allows for unbundled legal services. This means that attorneys can prepare divorce petitions and other documents for either an hourly or flat fee.
Even if you and your spouse agree on terms, if you have a complex property situation, it may be worth it to have an attorney prepare and review your settlement. There are several for-profit and self-help services available to prepare documents at little to no cost. Quality may vary and you use them at your own risk.
One way to check the quality of the service is to perform an online search with the name of the service and "complaint" or "review" to see if anyone has any opinions on the site. Prepare the child-specific documents. If you and your spouse have children under the age of 18, you will need to include plans for the parenting and financial support of your children. This document will detail parenting time schedules, holiday times, and any responsibilities that you and your spouse want to detail in the plan.
The more cooperative the parenting plan is, the more likely the court will accept it without modification. All divorces with minor children must include a child support calculation. If you or your spouse are unemployed and not disabled, the court will assume that you are capable of earning minimum wage and will base calculations on that wage.
The support amount depends on the number of children and is set by the legislature in obligation tables.
That amount will be split between the two parents based on their percentage of the gross income. The parties can deviate from the presumptive child support amount if both agree and can show there is adequate resources to provide for the child's needs. However, a child support calculation still needs to be attached to the divorce filing.