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Georgia Marriage Laws

Official Code of Georgia Annotated 19-3-30.1 - Premarital education; fees; special requirements if marriage applicant is 17 years old

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Premarital education; fees; special requirements if marriage applicant is 17 years old

(a) The premarital education provided for under this Code section shall include at least six hours of instruction involving marital issues, which may include but not be limited to conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child and parenting responsibilities, and extended family roles. The premarital education shall be completed within 12 months prior to the application for a marriage license and the couple shall undergo the premarital education together, except as provided for in subsection (d) of this Code section. The premarital education shall be performed by: (1) A professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 10A of Title 43; (2) A psychiatrist who is licensed as a physician pursuant to Chapter 34 of Title 43; (3) A psychologist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 39 of Title 43; or (4) An active member of the clergy when in the course of his or her service as clergy or his or her designee, including retired clergy, provided that a designee is trained and skilled in premarital education; provided, further, that any active or retired member of the clergy or his or her designee performing the premarital education for a party who is 17 years of age shall also be a professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 10A of Title 43. (b) Each premarital education provider provided for in paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall furnish each participant who completes the premarital education under his or her performance a certificate of completion. (c) If both persons applying for a marriage license are 18 years of age or older and certify on the application for a marriage license that they have successfully completed a qualifying premarital education program, then such persons shall not be charged a fee for a marriage license. (d) If either person applying for a marriage license is 17 years of age: (1) No fee shall be charged for the issuance of a marriage license; (2) A certificate of completion of premarital education by any such person as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section shall be provided to the judge of the probate court. The requirement of this paragraph shall not be waived regardless of whether the persons applying for a marriage license are willing to be charged a fee for the marriage license; (3) Each person shall undergo the premarital education separately from the other person; and (4) In addition to the topics provided for under subsection (a) of this Code section, the premarital education shall include instruction on the potential risks of marrying young, including, but not limited to, high divorce rates, increased rates of noncompletion of education, greater likelihood of poverty, medical and mental health problems, and information contained within the fact sheet provided for under Code Section 19-3-41.1, including, but not limited to, information on domestic violence and website and telephone resources for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking.

(Code 1981, § 19-3-30.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2005, p. 1485, § 2/HB 378; Ga. L. 2019, p. 558, § 1-2/HB 228.)

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