It is currently legal for first cousins to marry in Georgia.
The state laws prevent closer relationships such as siblings.
Couples must apply for a marriage license from a probate court. The form may ask if the couple are related. However, a first cousin relationship is not an impediment.
This article looks at what you need to know about first cousin marriages in Georgia.
Types Of Cousins That Can Get Married In Georgia
All types of cousins can get married in Georgia, including:
If you’re not clear on what these relationships are, click on the links above. You’ll find full explanations and examples.
It’s important to be sure that your partner is your cousin and not a half-sibling. Half siblings aren’t allowed to marry in Georgia.
If you’re unsure about what this relationship means, check out our article that explains half siblings with easy-to-understand diagrams.
What You Should Know About First Cousin Marriage In Georgia
Georgia requires that you apply for a marriage license to get married in the Peach State.
The license must be signed in the presence of a clerk at a probate court in the state.
Are you a resident?
You don’t have to be a resident. But be aware that some states in the U.S. may not recognize your marriage if they prohibit first cousin unions.
If you’re not a resident, you must apply for your marriage license in the same county where you intend to marry. If either of the couple is a resident, then you can apply in any county in the state.
Appointment or walk-in?
Some of the courts in the metro counties have walk-ins where you can queue to get your meeting. However, this can take a few hours.
You will need to schedule an appointment where walk-ins aren’t possible.
Does the Georgia marriage form ask if you’re related?
Some states have a section in their forms where you must state a relationship e.g. first cousin.
We reviewed the application form available on the Fulton County website in 2022. It asks for this information.
Here’s a picture of the left half of the form. We’ve truncated some of the sections to draw your attention to two questions.
One question asks you whether you are related. Don’t be concerned. You simply need to stipulate that you are first cousins.
The other highlighted question asks if there is any legal reason why you should not be married.
Well, you and the clerk know that first cousin marriages are legal in Georgia. So, the answer here is no (as long as there aren’t any other reasons!).
Completing the marriage license
You will complete the license application form and give it to the clerk, along with your ID and other necessary documents.
Be prepared for the possibility that the county clerk may ask you to further explain your relationship.
Don’t worry. Just clarify whether which of your parents are siblings.
You have the option of completing a pre-marital course approved by the state before applying for the license.
This significantly reduces the cost of the marriage license.
Who Can’t Get Married In Georgia?
The Georgia marriage laws have a list of relationships that are prohibited.
- Father and daughter or stepdaughter
- Mother and son or stepson
- Brother and sister of the whole blood or the half blood
- Grandparent and grandchild
- Aunt and nephew
- Uncle and niece
The laws also state that these relationships are “either by blood or by marriage”.
What does brother and sister of the whole blood or the half blood mean? This means either a full or half sibling.
Why first cousins are legal
You’ve probably noticed that first cousins aren’t included in the list.
Georgia laws don’t say explicitly that first cousins can marry. They simply don’t mention the relationship in their restrictions.
This was clarified in an opinion given by the Attorney General back in the 1960s:
Marriage between first cousins not being prohibited, such marriage is legal and proper in this state.Attorney General
Do Cousins Travel To Georgia To Get Married?
Georgia is bordered by Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee. All four states allow first cousin marriage.
There are many other states that share borders with neighbors that prohibit such marriages. Occasionally, legislators or media express concern that hordes of out-of-state cousins are racing into the state to get legally married.
I don’t find any such concerns expressed in Georgia. That’s probably because the surrounding states have similar laws.
Our overview of first cousin marriage in the United States has a table that lists every state and whether they allow or forbid it.
Roman Catholic Marriages
If you want to celebrate your Georgia wedding in a Roman Catholic church, you will face a separate hurdle.
Historically, the Catholic Church hasn’t been keen on first cousin marriages. However, the church laws have been relaxed somewhat in recent years.
There is a process that first cousins need to go through with the hierarchy in order to get permission to marry in a church ceremony. This is known as a dispensation.
We explain in detail in our general article that explains what first cousins are (scroll down to the bottom).
What about second cousins?
Second cousins (and further out) don’t need to get special permission for a Catholic Church marriage.
We suggest that you explain the second cousin relationship to your priest before the service. This means there will be no confusion for the celebrant if there is mention of “cousins” during casual conversation later.
If you’re not sure about whether you are first or second cousins, check out our article that explains what second cousins are. It has diagrams that make it clear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some quick answers to common questions.
Does Georgia allow relatives to marry?
Georgia does not allow close relatives to marry.
More distant relatives such as first and second cousins are allowed to marry in the state.
Can you marry a sibling in Georgia?
Georgia does not allow siblings to marry. Half-siblings are also not allowed to marry in the state.
Is it legal to marry your second cousin in Georgia?
Marriage between second cousins is legal in Georgia.
Other cousin relationships, such as first and third cousins, are also allowed to marry in the state.
The codes and laws referenced in this article may not be the most recent version. Delaware may have more current or accurate information.
We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on other sites.
Please check official sources.