Guide to Georgia Marriage Records
Table of Contents
You can't contact Social Security and tell them you're married without showing certified copies of your marriage records. Nor can you expect an insurance provider to add you to your partner's plan without them needing to see verification. Marriage records in Georgia are the primary way to prove the legitimacy of your union.
The easiest way to access this document is to request a copy directly after your ceremony. Couples often forget this step because they're busy managing the tasks that follow their walk down the aisle. The good news is that these records are still easy to request weeks or even years after the ceremony if you know where to turn.
What Are Georgia Marriage Records
Georgia marriage records are documents backed by the court that filed them, guaranteeing a marriage. They work similarly to your driver's license when trying to get into an R-rated movie, except they're harder to fake.
Despite their importance, there's very little information stored on marriage records. Since their only purpose is to record the event, they don't require sensitive details on the spouses besides legal names.
The included information and layout of Georgia marriage records may vary between counties, but they always have the following:
- Spouse's full names before the ceremony
- Officiant's signature
- Date the ceremony occurred
Georgia is one of the few states that only requires witnesses if the license is not returned to the courts within 30 days (Georgia Code Title 19. Domestic Relations § 19-3-30). So, many marriage records do not have a space for witness signatures. Other formats also list the county the ceremony happened in and the county that licensed the marriage.
What Is NOT Included in Marriage Records and Potential Errors and Omissions
The risk of getting your identity stolen through the information on marriage records is very low. Sensitive or personal information like social security numbers and birthdays are left out, which makes these documents safe for public records.
The bigger annoyance is if you have an incorrectly filled-out marriage record. Government representatives are searching for marriage records based on a few details. So, if any of those details don't match what's on your record, they'll have a hard time finding it.
For example, if your name is John Smith, but you incorrectly wrote down "Jon Smith", your record won't appear when searching for your legal name. It's unlikely that someone misspells their name, but plenty of people have poor penmanship.
Corrections to a marriage record cannot be requested by mail in Georgia. You must make an appointment with the county.
Marriage License vs. Marriage Record
There's a subtle difference between a marriage record and a marriage license. Thankfully, the Georgia State pages do an excellent job of not using the terms interchangeably.
A marriage license is a permission form from the county allowing a couple to be married. The application is entirely different from what you'd use to request a marriage record, and it typically requires much more sensitive information such as ethnicity, date of birth, and SSN.
These terms are often confused because the marriage license eventually becomes the marriage record after it's signed by the witnesses and officiant and returned to the county.
Georgia Marriage Statistics
Intelligent action depends on data. State governments must understand marital success rates and at what point in their lives people get married. This information helps create policies that help citizens overcome challenges and strengthen society.
Some of the most relevant marriage statistics for Georgia include:
Georgia has a marriage rate of roughly 5.5 per thousand people, ranking 29th in the US. This puts the State just below the national average but represents an increase from 2020's rate of 5.1 per thousand.
Average Marrying Age
Estimates from the Georgia Health Department showed that between 2000 and 2015, about 10,000 marriages included someone under 18. In 2019, Georgia raised the minimum marrying age to 17 in an attempt to protect vulnerable young women.
Despite the relatively large number of younger marriages, Georgia's overall marrying age is consistent with the rest of the country. The median marrying age for a first marriage is 29.2 years old.
Average Marital Length
According to a 2023 CNBC article, Georgia is among the ten worst states for median marriage duration. Unions in Georgia only last around 18.8 years, which is four years shorter than in the top states.
The Chamber of Commerce found that 11.2 percent of Georgia adults were divorced, slightly above the national average of 10.8 percent. Georgia also reports a higher number of separated spouses than is typical.
How to Find Georgia Marriage Records
Georgia marriage records are stored by the State Office of Vital Records and each County's Vital Records office. The State Office only keeps certificates from June 1952 to August 1996 and distributes them only to the named bride or groom.
Apart from claiming social security, most people require their marriage records at most a few years after their ceremony. So, the State's limited records mean most people's only option is the county office that initially filed their license. This setup can be inconvenient for couples who have moved or married away from their hometown.
Luckily, you aren't required to go yourself, although in-person visits are significantly more streamlined. Before starting the request process, make sure you have the following information:
- The county that issued the marriage license
- Spouses' names prior to marriage
- Ceremony date
If you visit the Georgia State Record's page, you'll see that they're partnered with multiple third-party ordering platforms. However, these services only offer birth and death certificates, and Georgia does NOT provide online methods for requesting marriage records.
Some counties, such as Chatham County, have online ordering services. Unfortunately, this is not the norm; most people must go through physical offices.
Whether ordering at the state or county level, applicants have two ways to request their marriage records. They can mail in a request or visit the offices in person.
When possible, we recommend going in person. Office representatives can get you the record that day and help you if any of the provided information is incorrect. This is especially helpful if you need to search for a more distant marriage record.
Mail Orders (State Office)
This option is only available for marriage records between June 1952 and November 1996. Send mail to 1680 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30349.
Applicants must completely fill out Form 3919, which can be found on this page. Any incomplete forms will be returned without processing.
Mail requests must include the appropriate fee of a $10 search fee and $5 for each certified copy. This fee must be sent as a check or money order to the "GA State Office of Vital Records", the state office will not accept cash requests.
Lastly, send a photocopy of a valid photo ID. The most acceptable forms of ID include the following:
- Georgia Driver's License (not expired more than one year)
- Driver's License from another state (not expired)
- Georgia Weapons Carry License
- US Passport (not expired)
- School photo ID card
Mail Orders (County Court Office)
Mail orders to county offices have all the same requirements as above. There may be differences in the fees and what form to fill out. However, you should get by by using Form 3913. You'll want to contact the county before sending the letter to confirm the details.
The walk-in process is relatively straightforward, but you'll have a more pleasant time if everything is ready before your visit. Some counties may require an appointment, but the state office does not.
You'll still require one of the photo ID options listed in the previous sections and the appropriate fee, which will vary by county. Unlike mail-in orders, most county offices accept payment from all major credit card providers.
Once again, you can use Form 3913, but you can also ask for the correct form from the office you go through. That's one of the perks of going in person.
The Georgia State Office also provides marriage verification letters for any marriage from 2014 and on. These are not certified copies of your marriage record but may work as proof for non-governmental processes.
Unless your only option is to visit the State Office, we recommend requesting an official marriage record rather than a verification letter. The ordering process, wait times, and associated fees for the two are identical.
The only difference is you fill out Form 3970 instead of Form 3919.
Probate Court Directory
Knowing how to get your records isn't much use if you don't know exactly where to look. Although we can't definitively tell you where your marriage records are, we can give you a shortcut. Below are the ten most populous Georgia counties and how to reach the right office.
FAQ on Marriage Records in Georgia
How long will it take to get a copy of my marriage record in Georgia?
Going to the Georgia State Office or your county probate court in person will get you the marriage record immediately. Any process that mails the record to you, whether through an online form or a letter request, takes at least 8 to 10 weeks.
Who can request marriage records in Georgia?
Georgia marriage records are available to the public. There are online indexes that display everything from the past few decades. However, if you want a certified document, those are only distributed to the listed bride and groom. Otherwise, you would require a court order.
Can I request an online or digital copy of a marriage record?
There isn't a way to get an emailed or PDF version of your marriage record in Georgia. Some counties offer online ordering forms, but those require you to send your physical address and wait for snail mail.
Marriage records are certified with a unique raised seal. This seal cannot be placed on digital copies.
How much does a marriage record cost?
Requesting marriage records through the Georgia State Vital Records Office incurs a non-refundable $10 search cost. This fee is just for the time spent reviewing the databases per your application. An additional $5 is charged per certified copy if the record is found.
This cost is not standard across counties and will vary depending on which office you're ordering through. It's unlikely that you'll pay more than $20 through a county, but your mailed payment must be exact, so it's recommended that you call your county probate court ahead of time.