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How to Find Georgia Marriage Records
Matrimony or wedlock, commonly known as marriage, is when two people participate in a ceremony to share their lives with each other and join together in a union. In Georgia, this ceremony is a legal act and results in a contract that determines shared benefits and obligations. As a legal matter that can have consequences outside of the marriage, these records are considered public and can be accessed by persons in the state of Georgia. These documents can be accessed and used for different procedures. Before requesting these documents, make sure to understand the differences between the forms that are held in Georgia Marriage Records.
Are Georgia Marriage Records Public?
While Georgia Marriage Records are public, they represent some of the most difficult records to obtain due to the personal nature of the information within. Government organizations often offer marriage verification letters rather than the original marriage records because marriage records must remain intact and unchanged with regard to the people involved in the marriage. If changes need to be made, these records are critical to that procedure.
Family Court Records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
Where to Find Free Georgia Marriage Records
Marriage records in Georgia are not free, but can be accessed by paying a relatively inexpensive fee. One may request a marriage record from the Georgia Department of Public Health State Office of Vital Records or the county Probate Court where the marriage took place.. Records have been maintained by the State Office of Vital Records from June 1952 to August 1996. Records from before 1952 and after 1996 can only be accessed from county Probate Court. It is recommended to make sure that the requesting party is requesting access to the correct record to fulfill the purpose for the request.
How Do I Get My Marriage Certificate in Georgia?
It is recommended that in order to access a marriage certificate within 6 months after a marriage happens, the requesting party should contact the Probate Court where the marriage happened because the Vital Records Office may not have it on file yet. If requesting from the Vital Records Office and they do not have the file, a search fee will still be charged. To begin the process of accessing a Georgia Marriage Certificate, fill out a Request for Search of Marriage application available on the Georgia Vital Records webpage. The requesting party must also provide a photocopy or physical copy (if in person) of vail photo identification, such as:
- A state driver’s license that is unexpired, or expired for no more than a year
- State identification card unexpired, or expired for no more than a year
- Georgia Weapons Carry License card
- U.S. Military or Veteran’s Identification card
- Consulate Card
- Debit Card with Picture
- ID Card from employer
- School ID Card
- DMV ID Card
- Department of Corrections Identification Card
It is possible to submit a mail-in request or request these records in-person. For a mail-in request, submit all information to:
State Office of Vital Records
1680 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30349
Response time for mail-in requests is typically 8-10 weeks. To make an in-person request, visit the State Office of Vital Records at:
State Office of Vital Records
1680 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30349
It is also possible to visit any County Vital Records Office. Response time for in-person requests is the same day. All Georgia Vital Records Offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays. It is necessary to pay for a request before service can be provided for requesting parties. The search fee for a Georgia Marriage Certificate is $10.00, and every additional copy is $5.00. Requesting parties may pay by check or money order. In-person request fees can be paid by cash, credit card, or debit card.
What are Georgia Marriage Records?
A Georgia marriage record is a full record that is legal evidence that a marriage occurred. These records contain both Marriage Licenses and Marriage Certificates. These records may be requested as proof of a name change, for genealogical research, or during divorce proceedings. All in all, they are documents that state a legal marriage has taken place between two people.
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
What are Georgia Marriage Licenses?
The public can access copies of Marriage Licenses, but certified copies are only available to the spouses. These are not accessible through the Office of Vital Records. A Marriage License is a document that gives legal permission for a couple to be married. To be married, different marriage laws apply state-by-state. Georgia Marriage License Laws Requirements are as follows:
- Both parties must be 18 years of age or older to begin the application process for a marriage license without parental consent.
- Both parties are required to appear in person
- Both parties must provide valid identification
- Blood tests are no longer required under Georgia law
- Same-day marriages are not outlawed in Georgia
- As long as one party is a resident of the state, both parties can then apply for a marriage license in any Probate Court in Georgia
- If both of the parties are not residents of Georgia, they are required to apply in the county where they will be married
- A Georgia marriage license does not expire
Costs for a marriage license in Georgia are $56.00 without Premarital Education. With Premarital Education, the cost is only $16.00. When the certified copy is given to the parties, they will be charged $10.00 for each copy. There is an additional $10.00 fee for the Social Security Administration.
How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Georgia
Newlyweds must wait to get certified copies of a marriage license before changing their name after marriage in Georgia. The local county probate court, responsible for issuing the certificates, charges $10 for the first copy and $5 for additional copies. While turnaround times vary by county, most Georgia marriage licenses are ready within two weeks.
Once the marriage certificate is ready, Georgia residents that wish to effect a name change after marriage must prioritize visiting the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA is a priority as most agencies will only let a person change their name to whatever the SSA has on file. To change their name with the SSA, interested persons must download and fill out an SS-5 form and return it to their local SSA office in person or by mail. The SSA will process the application and return a new social security card in two weeks at no charge.
Next, the person changing their name after marriage in Georgia must visit their local DMV to change their driver's license. Georgia's DMV allows license-holders to get one free name or address change during each license term. However, if the license is close to expiry, they will need to renew the license and pay the renewal costs. Applicants will need to present their old license, marriage certificate, and SSA card. After changing their SSA card and driver's licenses, newlyweds may visit their local passport office to update their passports. They may also contact their financial institution to change their bank details.
What are Georgia Marriage Certificates?
A Georgia Marriage Certificate is a document that is provided to each member of a marriage after the marriage has been finalized. Unlike a marriage license, they do not give legal permission to marry, but they offer proof that a marriage occurred.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Georgia
Parties that wish to access their own Marriage Certificates must follow state law in requesting these records. They must fill out a Request for Search of Marriage application available on the Georgia Vital Records webpage and provide photo identification and other information, including fees.