Common Law Marriage in Georgia

Common Law Marriage in Georgia

This guide’s goal is to assist in making sense of the terminology and complexity surrounding partner relationships and their legal rights in Georgia. Frequently, individuals cohabitate for an extended period, functioning as husband and wife, without formally getting a marriage license from the Department of Vital Statistics. Finding out about common law marriage in Georgia, if you have a relationship that is recognized by the law in Georgia, and what to do if you wish to stop it may be made simpler with the help of this information.

What Is Common Law Marriage in Georgia?

In Georgia, a common-law marriage allows legal recognition between parties without obtaining a marriage license. There are still many people who believe they are in a common-law union. Some couples still keep this kind of connection going, even if it is not as common as it once was. Knowing what marriage and divorce are and are not will help you more readily navigate these turbulent seas.

Not every state permits the formation of these unofficial unions within its boundaries. A common-law marriage must be formed in a state that accepts such marriages at the time of formation. There may be differences in how the states that recognize common-law marriages define a legally binding common-law union. This implies that individuals with common-law marriages who relocate to a different state may have some challenges if their new jurisdiction does not accept their marriage legally.

Does Georgia Adhere to Common Law?

In the sense that common-law marriages are no longer permitted in Georgia, the state is not a common-law state. No one can establish or organize a common law marriage in Georgia as of January 1, 1997. Common-law marriages will be recognized for any such unions formed in Georgia before January 1, 1997. If you think you might have wed under Georgian common law before January 1, 1997, be sure it satisfies all legal criteria by speaking with an attorney.

Are Common Law Marriages Accepted in Georgia?

Georgia must recognize a legally established marriage that was established in another state and relocated there. Georgian courts will grant your marriage “full faith and credit” if it is common law. Georgia has to follow state laws. Georgia must recognize valid marriages in other states, even though it forbids marriage within its boundaries. However, the majority of governments are amending their legal frameworks to make these kinds of unions illegal in the future. This implies that legally binding common-law marriages in Georgia and other states will soon disappear.

What Are the Requirements for Georgia’s Common Law Marriages?

  • The parties need to be able to enter into contracts.
  • A contract is truly required.
  • The marriage must be consummate under the law.
  • The union had to be formed before January 1st, 1997.

These four conditions must be satisfied for a common-law marriage to be accepted legally in the state of Georgia. The conditions for establishing a marriage are similar to those of ceremonially married couples who have obtained a marriage license. The agreement between the parties to be husband and wife and to present themselves as husband and wife to the public is the contract in a common law marriage. Although living together happens to be “consummation of the marriage,” there is no time restriction on how long a couple can cohabit.

How Can a Common Law Marriage Be Ended?

A common law marriage that is recognized by the law must dissolve via divorce, just like any other marriage. A couple is legally recognized as having a common law marriage once such recognition is granted, regardless of the presence of a ceremony or marriage license. If they decide to end their marriage, they will follow the same divorce procedures as any other husband and wife wishing to separate.

To Dissolve a Common Law Marriage, Do You Need Legal Counsel?

In Georgia, dissolving a marriage does not often require legal counsel, but common-law unions might complicate divorce. This is frequently the result of the pair lacking a marriage license or other official record of their union. They may dispute the validity of their common-law marriage, depending on the specifics of their case.

Working with an attorney is typically the best course of action to resolve these concerns and expedite the divorce process. If you and your spouse get fair treatment and all property and custody issues settle in a way that benefits both of you, having legal representation can assist in ensuring that.

Domestic Partnerships vs. Common Law Marriage

Domestic Partnerships in Law

A domestic relationship and a common-law marriage are not the same thing. Domestic partnerships are legal in Georgia; however, they are primarily available to same-sex unions. Certain cities and counties allow domestic partner registration; however, employment with the city or county is typically a prerequisite. Common-law unions are exempt from these rules.

Domestic Partnerships in Fact

Couples may no longer desire a formal, ceremonially acknowledged marriage as a result of the development of conventional family ideals in recent decades. Alternatively, they might choose to live together, assuming all the obligations and characteristics of a conventional marriage, such as joint property ownership, raising children, etc. Surprisingly, there is no official term for these forms of relationships; therefore, to prevent confusion about domestic partnerships in law, we choose to refer to them as domestic partnerships in this article. Many queries and worries about this kind of relationship surface when a couple decides to split up.


In Georgia, what is the duration of a common law marriage?

In a common law marriage, the couple’s ongoing cohabitation establishes consummation. The longer the cohabitation, the stronger the presumption that a common law marriage exists, although there is no set duration for the partners to live together.

What is Georgia’s law regarding marriage?

To obtain a marriage license, you must meet certain requirements: you must be of sound mind, at least eighteen years old, and free of a surviving spouse from a previous, undissolved marriage. If certain requirements are met, a marriage license may be granted to a 17-year-old.

Does Georgia follow civil law or common law?

The foundation of Georgia’s legal system is civil law.

How does Georgian common law operate?

Georgia is not a common-law state in the sense that common-law unions are no longer legal there. No one can establish or organize a common-law marriage in Georgia as of January 1, 1997. Common-law marriages will be recognized for any such unions formed in Georgia before January 1, 1997.


In the case of a common-law marriage, ending the connection requires starting a legal divorce procedure. This implies that you will need to decide who will gain custody of any children as well as formalize the split of assets and property.

For many people, common-law marriage is an intimidating legal idea. You must speak with an expert attorney if you find yourself in this circumstance and need to know your rights or seek a divorce.

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