Georgia Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

Every state has a list of conditions that disqualify a couple from getting married, including blood relations and bigamy. States also have specific grounds for annulment, which allow for a quick end to the marriage without the expense or stigma of divorce. Georgia's annulment and prohibited marriage laws are similar to those of other states.

In addition to its prohibition of marriage between blood relatives, Georgia law also used to ban same-sex marriage. However, a Supreme Court ruling in 2015 found that state bans on same-sex marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection guarantee. As a result of the case Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage bans have been eliminated and unless the State of Georgia tries to develop a new ban that circumvents the decision, same-sex marriage is now available.

Annulment is a declaration by a court that a marriage is invalid. In other words, an annuled marriage is a marriage that never should have been allowed in the first place, so the process effectively "erases" the union as if it never happened. Divorce, on the other hand, is the dissolution of a valid marriage. In Georgia, grounds for annulment include fraud and lack of consent.

Georgia, as do other states, lists certain conditions and relationships that disqualify a couple from getting married in the first place. These include having an existing blood or marriage relationship (such as first cousins or in-laws), more than one spouse (bigamy), or being the same gender.

Same-sex marriage laws are changing throughout the country, though. Georgia's 2004, voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has been challenged through a lawsuit and could be overturned.

The main provisions of Georgia's annulment and prohibited marriage laws are listed in the table below. See Annulments - Overview to learn more.

Code Sections 19-3-2, et seq.; 19-4-1
Grounds for Annulment Unable, unwilling, or fraudulently induced to contract; unsound, under 16 and no parental consent
Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment No annulment granted where children are born or are to be born of marriage
Legitimacy of Children Issue of void marriage is legitimate, if legitimate children born before annulment
Prohibited Marriages Related by blood or marriage, father and daughter or stepdaughter, mother and son or stepson, brother and sister (whole- or half-blood), grandparent and grandchild, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece (penalty of prison 1-3 yrs.); bigamous

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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