Legal Memorandum: Common Law Marriages in GA

Issue: What is the status of common law marriage in Georgia?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Common-law marriage; Legally recognized; Cohabitation
Jurisdiction: Georgia
Cited Cases: 99 S.E.2d 352; 66 S.E.2d 226; 6 S.E.2d 687
Cited Statutes: Ga. Code Ann. § 53-101
Date: 02/01/2001

Georgia recognizes common law marriages; but cohabitation without an agreement does not constitute such a marriage.  Johnson v. Johnson, 96 Ga. App. 84, 99 S.E.2d 352 (1957).  A marriage relationship arises out of the voluntary contract of the parties, whereby they mutually consent to thenceforth be husband and wife.  It is not necessary that it be solemnized by a person in holy orders or in "facie ecclesiae."  See Lefkoff v. Sicro, 189 Ga. 554, 6 S.E.2d 687 (1939) (discussing Ga. Code Ann. § 53-101). 

In Georgia, therefore, the parties simply must live together under agreement of marriage; a formal ceremony is not necessary.  Campbell v. Allen, 208 Ga. 274, 66 S.E.2d 226 (1951).


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