Marriageable age

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'Marriageable age (or "marriage age) is the age at which a person is allowed by law to marry, either as a right or subject to parental or other forms of consent. Age and other prerequisites to marriage vary between jurisdictions, but generally is set at eighteen. Most jurisdictions allow marriage at a slightly younger age with parental or judicial approval, and some also allow younger people to marry if one is pregnant. The marriage age should not be confused with the age of majority or the age of consent, though in some places they may be the same. In many developing countries, the official age prescriptions stand as mere guidelines.

The 55 parties to the 1962 Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage, and Registration of Marriages have agreed to specify a minimum marriage age by statute law‚ to override customary, religious, and tribal laws. When the marriageable age under a law of a religious community is lower than that under the law of the land, the state law prevails. However, some religious communities do not accept the supremacy of state law in this respect, which may lead to child marriage or forced marriage. The 123 parties to the 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery have agreed to adopt a minimum age for marriage.[1]

History and social attitudes[edit]

Historically, the age of consent for a sexual union was determined by tribal custom or was a matter for families to decide. In most cases, this coincided with signs of puberty: menstruation for a woman and pubic hair for a man.[2]

In Ancient Rome, it was very common for girls to marry and have children shortly after the onset of puberty. Roman law required brides to be at least 12 years old. In Roman law, first marriages to brides aged 12–25 required the consent of the bride and her father, but by the late antique period Roman law permitted women over 25 to marry without parental consent.[3] The Catholic canon law followed the Roman law. In the 12th century, the Catholic Church drastically changed legal standards for marital consent by allowing daughters over 12 and sons over 14 to marry without their parents' approval, even if their marriage was made clandestinely.[4] Parish studies have confirmed that late medieval women did sometimes marry against their parents' approval.[5] The Catholic Church's policy of considering clandestine marriages and marriages made without parental consent to be valid was controversial, and in the 16th century both the French monarchy and the Lutheran church sought to end these practices, with limited success.[6]

Among ancient Germanic tribes, the bride and groom were roughly the same age and older than their Roman counterparts. According to Tacitus:

The youths partake late of the pleasures of love, and hence pass the age of puberty unexhausted: nor are the virgins hurried into marriage; the same maturity, the same full growth is required: the sexes unite equally matched and robust; and the children inherit the vigor of their parents.[7]

Where Aristotle had set the prime of life at 37 years for men and 18 for women, the Visigothic Code of law in the 7th century placed the prime of life at twenty years for both men and women, after which both presumably married. It can be presumed that ancient Germanic brides were on average in their early twenties and were roughly the same age as their husbands.[8]

The first recorded age-of-consent law dates back 800 years. In 1275, in England, as part of the rape law, a statute, Westminster 1, made it a misdemeanor to "ravish" a "maiden within age," whether with or without her consent. The phrase "within age" was interpreted by jurist Sir Edward Coke as meaning the age of marriage, which at the time was 12 years of age.[9] In the 12th century the jurist Gratian, an influential founder of Canon law in medieval Europe, accepted age of puberty for marriage to be between 12 and 14 but acknowledged consent to be meaningful if the children were older than 7. There were authorities with a claim that consent could take place earlier. Marriage would then be valid as long as neither of the two parties annulled the marital agreement before reaching puberty, or if they had already consummated the marriage. It should be noted that Judges honored marriages based on mutual consent at ages younger than 7, in spite of what Gratian had said; there are recorded marriages of 2 and 3 year olds.[2]

Still, in most of Northwestern Europe, marriage at very early ages was rare. One thousand marriage certificates from 1619 to 1660 in the Archdiocese of Canterbury show that only one bride was 13 years of age, four were 15, twelve were 16, and seventeen were 17 years of age while the other 966 brides were at least 19 years of age at marriage. And the Church dictated that both the bride and groom must be at least 21 years of age to marry without the consent of their families; in the certificates, the most common age for the brides is 22 years. For the grooms 24 years is the most common age, with average ages of 24 years for the brides and 27 for the grooms.[10] While European noblewomen married early, they were a small minority[11] and the marriage certificates from Canterbury show that even among nobility it was very rare to marry women off at very early ages.[10]

The American colonies followed the English tradition, but the law was more of a guide. For example, Mary Hathaway (Virginia, 1689) was only 9 when she was married to William Williams. Sir Edward Coke (England, 17th century) made it clear that "the marriage of girls under 12 was normal, and the age at which a girl who was a wife was eligible for a dower from her husband's estate was 9 even though her husband be only four years old."[2] Reliable data for when people would actually marry is very difficult to find. In England, for example, the only reliable data on age at marriage in the early modern period come from records which involved only those who left property after their death. Not only were the records relatively rare, but not all bothered to record the participants' ages, and it seemed that the more complete the records are, the more likely they are to reveal young marriages. Additionally, 20th- and 21st-century historians have sometimes shown reluctance to accept data regarding a young age of marriage, and would instead explain the data away as a misreading by a later copier of the records.[2]

By country[edit]

Africa[edit]

CountryMale consertFemale consertNotes
Algeria2218Lower with judicial permission if necessity or benefit is established.[12]
Angola15Parental consent, although this restriction is not enforced effectively and the traditional age of marriage in lower income groups often coincides with the onset of puberty.[13]
Egypt18The age was raised in 2008 from 16 to 18 for females.[14]
Ethiopia18[15]
Kenya16[16]
Libya20But lower with judicial permission on grounds of benefit or necessity and with wali's agreement.[17]
Madagascar1817[18]
Mali15 or 18(Proposed by the Malian Family Code)
Mauritania18Despite legislation defining marriageable age, judges can use their discretionary powers to marry even minors.[19]
Morocco18[20] (This is not always followed in rural areas and many judges do not uphold this law and let women younger than 18 marry.)
Niger15[21]
Nigeria18[15]
Senegal2016[22]
Somalia1816For females with guardian's consent. Court may grant exemption from minimum age requirements in case of necessity.[23]
South Africa1815
SudanPubertyWith requirement for willing consent of both parties.[28]
South Sudan18With the consent of both parties, under the South Sudan Child Act 2008.[29]
Tanzania181515 with court permission if specific circumstances make marriage appear desirable. The Penal Code provides that persons of "African or Asiatic descent" may marry or permit marriage of a girl under 12 in accordance with their custom or religion if marriage is not intended to be consummated before she is 12.[30]
Tunisia2017Lower with judicial special permission for pressing reasons and with a clear interest for both spouses.[31]
Zimbabwe1816The Marriages Act [Chapter 5:11]. Under this legislation, a man may marry at the minimum age of 18 while a woman may marry at the minimum age of 16.[32]

Asia[edit]

The sign painted on a building in a village in Hubei, China, informs of the marriageable age in the country (22 for men, 20 for women).
CountryMale consertFemale consertNotes
Afghanistan1816In some cases, even younger girls are forced to marry at the age of 8.
Azerbaijan181717 or 16 correspondingly in special cases.[33]
Bangladesh2118Bangladeshi law provides for penal sanctions for the contraction of under-age marriages, though such unions are not considered invalid.[34]
BruneiNo minimum marriage age specified[35]
People's Republic of China2220[36]
Georgia18But 16 with parental consent.[37]
Hong Kong2116 with parental consent.[38]
India2118You can get married at 16 with parental consent. 18 with out parental consent.[39] If any partner(s) engages in marriage at a younger age, (s)he can ask for the marriage to be declared void. A recent recommendation by the Law Commission aims to equalize the marriage age for males and females to 18.[40] Official policy automatically declares marriages under 16 as "null and void", while marriages at the age of 16 or 17 are "voidable". In 2012, high court has declared that Muslim women can marry at 15.[40] Additionally, the report declares that "In spite of these legal provisions, child marriage is still widely practiced and a marriage solemnized in contravention of these provisions is not void even under the new PCMA, 1929, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and also under the Muslim Law."[40]
Indonesia1916Marriage at younger ages is legal with parental consent and judicial approval.[41]
Iran1816[42]
Iraq1815 with judicial permission if fitness, physical capacity and guardian's consent (or unreasonable objection on part of guardian) are established. (These rules may have been revised after Saddam Hussein's fall.)[43]
Israel18[44]
Japan2018 for males and 16 for females with parental consent.[45]
Jordan1615Court permission is required for females under 18 to marry men older by 20 years or more.[46]
Kazakhstan1816 with parental consent.[47]
Korea18With parental consent
Kuwait1715[48]
Kyrgyzstan18[49]
Lebanon181715, or 9 with judicial permission for Shi'a. 18 or 17 and 16 or 15 with judicial permission for Druze.[50]
Malaysia2118 with parental consent. Muslim girls under 16 can marry with the permission of sharia authorities.[51]
Maldives15According to custom, the minimum age for marriage is 15. The Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child discourages marriage before the age of 16.[52]
Nepal211818 for males and 16 for females with parental permission.[53]
Pakistan1816[54]
Palestinian territories1615Lunar calendar
Mongolia18[55]
Philippines18If any spouse is 18–20 years and the consent of "parental" authority is not met, marriage may be prevented or annulled by any party that demands it.[56] On the other hand, Muslim marriages in the Philippines is based on the sharia: 15 years for males and as for females, the onset of puberty to age 15, whichever comes first.[57]
Russia1816 in special circumstances; may vary in different regions.
Saudi ArabiaNone currently
Singapore2118 with parental consent; below 18 with special marriage license.
Sri Lanka18However, the parties must have a Quazi's permission to marry before contracting into marriage if they are Muslims.[58]
Syria1817judicial discretion for males of 15 and females of 13; judge may withhold permission for marriage if court finds incompatibility in age between betrothed parties.[59]
Republic of China (Taiwan)20[60] 18 for males, and 16 for females with parental consent.[61]
Thailand17In certain circumstances earlier with judicial permission.[62]
Turkey1817 with parental consent, 16 in special circumstances with court approval.[63]
Uzbekistan181717 and 16 correspondingly in special conditions.[64]
Vietnam2018
YemenNoneIn practice, "Yemeni law allows girls of any age to wed, but it forbids sex with them until the indefinite time they are 'suitable for sexual intercourse'."[65] Following the widely publicised divorce of a 10 year-old girl in 2008, and a 6 year old married, there have been public and parliamentary efforts to raise the age to 17 or 18.[66][67][68]

Europe[edit]

CountryMale consertFemale consertNotes
Albania18[69]
Armenia1817[70]
Austria1816 with parental consent but the other partner must be 18 or older.[71]
Belarus18[72]
Belgium18Younger with parental and judicial consent, but permission is only granted in "extreme" situations such as pregnancy.[73]
Bulgaria1816 with parental consent and permission of the local court but the other partner must be 18 or older.[74]
Croatia1816 with court permission.
Cyprus18[75]
Czech Republic1816 with parental consent but the other partner must be 18 or older.
Denmark1815 with an exemption named "Kongebrev" (which is a "letter from the king [granting an exemption]"). Today, local authorities may give approval if the couple has their own home. A foreigner marrying a Dane does not receive residency permission, unless both spouses are at least 24 years old under the 24 year rule.
Estonia1815 with parental or court consent.[76]
Finland18Under 18 with the consent of the ministry of justice in extraordinary circumstances, in which case parents or other guardian must be heard, but actual parental consent is not required.
France18[77] but the age condition may be waived with a special dispense granted by the authorities if at least one parent consents to the marriage (or one grandparent if both parents are dead or unable to give consent, or a family council if all parents and grandparents are dead or unable to give consent). After 18, parents (or grandparents) may still prevent the marriage by refusing their consent, but their opposition may be waived by the authorities, whereas before 18, their consent is absolutely needed.[78]
Georgia1815 with parental consent.
Germany1816 with court permission and parental consent.
Gibraltar18
Greece1816 with consent from both parents and court permission.
Hungary1816 with parental consent.
Iceland18Under 18 with parental consent and permission of the Ministry of the Interior.
Ireland18Under 18 with the court's permission.[79]
Italy1816 with court consent.
Latvia1816 with court and/or parental permission.
Lithuania1815 with court permission, minors can only marry below 15 if they are pregnant females with court permission.[80]
Netherlands18Under 18 with parental consent; in case of pregnancy or with personal permission from the Minister of Justice.
Norway1816 with consent from parents (guardian) and permission from the County Governor. The County Governor may only give permission when there are 'special reasons for contracting a marriage'.[81][82]
Malta1817 with parental consent.[citation needed]
Poland1816 for women with judicial approval.
Portugal1816 with parental consent (or if this is unattainable, the court can provide the consent).
Romania1816 with permission from the district's administrative board.[83]
Russia1816 in special circumstances, but different rules apply in some regions.[84]
Serbia1816 with court consent.
Slovakia1816 with court consent, with a serious reason such as pregnancy.[85]
Slovenia1815 with parental consent.
Spain1816 with parental consent.
Sweden18Under 18 with permission from the county administrative board (LST). The county administrative board may only give permission when there are 'special reasons' but although the custodians of the underage should be heard if possible, the consent of the custodians is not required. Although the law specifies no lower age limit to enter into marriage, the policy of the LST is to not grant any permission to a person under 15 years of age.
Switzerland18[86]
Turkey1817 with parental consent, 16 in special circumstances with court approval.
Ukraine18
United Kingdom
England and Wales1816 with parental consent.[87]
Scotland16[88]
Northern Ireland1816 with parental consent (with the court able to give consent in some cases).[89]
Vatican City18[90] 16 for males and 14 for females with parental or judicial consent per code of canon law.[91]

North America[edit]

CountryMale consertFemale consertNotes
Canada18Varies by province, but generally 18 years old, 16 years with parental consent, and 15 years with judicial consent.
Mexico1816 for males, 15 for females.[92]
Puerto Rico21(Younger parties may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child), and 18 with parental consent.[93]
United States18Varies by state, but generally 18, with two exceptions: 19 in Nebraska and 21 in Mississippi. Most states, however, allow minors below 18 to marry (generally they have to be at least 16 but sometimes lower) with parental and/or judicial consent. Some states allow female minors below 18 to marry without parental or judicial consent, if she is pregnant. Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, and Oklahoma allow pregnant teens or teens who have already had a child to get married without parental consent.[94] In Florida, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, however, the young couple must have authorization from a court.[94] Maryland requires that the minor be at least sixteen.[94] Even with parental approval, many states will require court approval when a person is 16 years of age or less.[94]
  • Alabama:[94] Under 18 applicants need certified copy of birth certificate, both parents must be present with identification, or if you have a legal guardian they must be present with a court order and identification. If one or both parents are deceased, proper evidence of such must be provided.[94]
  • Alaska: Under 18 applicants need certified copy of birth certificate, both parents must be present with identification, or if there is a legal guardian they must be present with a court order and identification.[94]
  • Arizona: Under 18 applicants need a notarized parental consent form or parents accompany them, present the proper identification, and sign the parental consent form in front of the clerk issuing the license. 16 - 17 year olds need identification and one of the following documents showing proof of age:
  • certified copy of birth certificate
  • current driver's license
  • state or military I.D. card
  • or current passport
Those 15 or under, need also a court order.[94]
  • Arkansas: Under 18 applicants need a consent of both parents.[94]
  • California: If either the bride or groom is under 18, at least one of the minor's parents, or legal guardian, must appear with the couple. Certified copies of birth certificates are required. The couple must also schedule an appointment with a counsellor and then appear before a superior court judge.[94]
  • Colorado: A 16 or 17 year old needs the consent of both parents (or parent having legal custody), or guardian, or seek judicial approval. Those under 16 need a court order along with parental consent.[94]
  • Connecticut: If applicant is under the age of 18 written consent of the parent or guardian is required and under the age of 16 the Judge of probate must endorse with written consent on the license.[94]
  • Delaware: Both applicants must be over the age of 18 years old. Both applicants must be present to apply. Both applicants must present a valid driver's license or birth certificate when applying.[94]
  • District of Columbia: Both applicants must be at least 18 years old to obtain a marriage license. With parental consent, the male must be at least 16 years old and the female must be at least 16 years old. Parental consent must be provided either in person or by notorized letter.[94]
  • Florida: If an individual is under 18 years of age, but older than 16 years of age, a marriage license can be obtained with parental consent. If a parent has sole custody or the other parent is dead, the permission of one parent is sufficient. If a person is under the age of 16, the marriage license has to be issued by a county judge, with or without parental permission. If a minor's parents are both deceased and there is not an appointed guardian, he/she may apply for a marriage license. A minor who has been previously married may also apply for a license. A minor who swears that they have a child or are expecting a baby, can apply for a license if the pregnancy has been verified by a written statement from a licensed physician. A county court judge may at his/her discretion issue or not issue a license for them to marry. Pre-Marital Course Providers will be charged a one time fee of $4.00.[94]
  • Georgia: Applicants who are 16 or 17 may apply for a license with consent of the parents or guardians, who must accompany the minor applying for the marriage license and must have proper identification, such as a valid driver's license. Guardians must present proper guardianship papers. Underage female applicants who are pregnant may apply without parental consent. A letter from a doctor must be presented at the time of the application. The doctor's letter must state that the female is pregnant, how far along she is and her estimated due date. This letter must be on the doctor's letterhead with his/her original signature, not a stamped signature. If underage applicants already have a child, they should present a certified copy of the birth certificate for the child at the time of application. If parental consent is not required, the court will notify parents or guardians that you have been issued a marriage license. All applicants need to take a premarital blood test. The blood test results must be printed on the mandatory state form #3411. Blood tests results must be signed and dated by the physician and must be less than thirty (30) days old when you apply for the license.[94]
  • Hawaii: To marry, males and females must be at least 16 years of age.
Males and females under 18 must have written consent from both parents, legal guardians or family court.
Males and females at age 15 may marry with the written consent of both parents or legal guardian and the written approval of the judge of the family court.
  • Idaho: Applicant under 16 years of age needs a court order
16 through 17: Applicants must present one of the following:
  • Original Birth Certificate or Certified Copy
  • Current Driver's License
  • Passport
  • State-issued Identification Card
  • Parental consent from either parent or legal guardian
  • Must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
  • Affidavit of Consent to Marriage of Minor
Both parties age 18 or older—no consent requirements
  • Illinois: Applicants between the ages of 16 and 17 may obtain a marriage license by presenting the following information:
Sworn consent from each parent, each legal guardian or a judge - in person - before the county clerk at the time of application. Those giving consent must provide proper identification, including a:
  • valid driver's license valid state identification card
  • valid Illinois Department of Public Aid card
  • valid passport.
(If the legal guardian is giving consent, a certified copy of the guardianship papers must be provided.)
  • Indiana: A certified copy of your birth certificate is required.
If you are 17 years old you must apply for the license with both parents (or the person with legal custody). They will need to sign the consent portion of the application.
If you are 16 or 15 years old, you must petition the Circuit Court via a "Permission to Marry" form. The cost for filing this petition is $120.00 even if the Judge refuses to allow the couple to marry. IC 31-11-2
  • Iowa: Under 18 applicants
(16 or 17 years of age) need to have parental consent.
  • Kansas: Any applicant who is under age 18 must have either:
Notarized, written consent of all then living parents and legal guardians OR
Notarized, written consent of one parent or legal guardian and consent of a district court judge. (K.S.A. 23-106)
  • Kentucky: If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must have the consent of your parents or legal guardian. Custody papers are required if your parents are divorced. The form that you need to have completed is the Consent to Marriage Form (84-FCC-501). It has to be witnessed by two witnesses who are at least 18 years old, signed by your parent or legal guardian, and sworn by the deputy clerk. If you are a pregnant minor you may apply to a district court judge for permission to marry without parental consent.
If you are under 16, you must get approval to marry from the District Court. Minors cannot get married in Kentucky if parents or guardians are not residents of Kentucky.
  • Louisiana: If either party to the marriage is between the ages of 16 and 18, the presence and signatures of both parents are required.
If a parent has legal custody in a divorce, a certified copy of the judgement must be presented.
If either party is under the age of 16, a court order is required in order to obtain a license.
  • Maine: Applicants must be over 18 years old.
A license shall not be issued to anyone under the age of 18 without written parental consent.
A license shall not be issued to anyone under the age of 16 without written parental consent and the written consent of a judge.
  • Maryland: Parental consent is needed if under 18 years of age.
If you are between 16–18 years of age, one of your parents or guardian must be with you and provide written consent.
If you are under 16 years of age, you will need both the written consent of your custodial parent or guardian and the written approval of a judge of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas.[citation needed]
If you are under 18, pregnant or have a child, and show a certificate from a licensed physician stating you are pregnant or have had a child, the parental consent requirement may be waived.
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts resident may marry if he or she is 18 years of age or older. A birth certificate may be required to show proof of age.
If either party is under 18, a court order from a probate or district court where the minor resides must be obtained before the marriage intentions can be filed.
  • Michigan: Applicants 18 years of age may marry without parental consent.
Applicants 16 years of age may marry with parental or legal guardian written consent.
Parents must appear with their identification with 16 or 17 year old applicants.
Custodial Parents must appear and bring proof of custody.
The requirement for premarital counseling for individuals applying for a Marriage License has been eliminated. Applicants will be provided ::with written educational material by the County Clerk regarding prenatal care and the transmission and prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Minnesota: Applicants 18 years of age may obtain a license. It is necessary to provide proof of age.
Applicants between the ages of 15 and 18 must have the consent of a parent, guardian or the judge of juvenile court.
Applicants under the age of 15 needs the written consent of a parent or guardian and the consent of a juvenile court judge.
  • Mississippi: Parental consent is needed if under 21 years of age.
If parents or guardians do not give consent at time of application, they will be notified via certified mail. The marriage application will be held for three (3) days.
Marriage licenses cannot be issued to males under 17, or females under 15 years of age.
If the clerk receives a signed authorization from the parents, this minimum age requirement can be waived.
  • Missouri: A person under age 18 cannot marry without the consent of the custodial parent or guardian.
A person under age 15 cannot marry without approval of a judge in the county where the marriage license is sought. The statute states that the judge should grant approval only upon a showing of "good cause" and that unusual conditions make the marriage "advisable." Persons lacking mental capacity to consent to marriage cannot marry without court approval.
  • Montana: If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must have the consent of both parents unless only one parent has legal custody of you.
Proof of age must be in the form of a certified copy of your birth certificate.
Both of you, as a couple, will also have to attend at least two counselling sessions that are at least 10 days apart. This has to be done with a designated counselor who will then have to provide a letter that states the names of the couple, their ages, the dates of the counseling sessions, and what the counselor thinks about their possible marriage.
Then judicial consent signed by a district court judge must be given for the Clerk of court's office to issue a marriage license.
No one 15 years of age or younger may marry in Montana.
  • Nebraska: Applicants must be 19 years old to marry without parental consent.
Both applicants must be at least 17 years of age. You cannot marry in Nebraska if you are under 17.
Parental consent required for applicants who are 17 or 18 years of age.
  • Nevada: If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must have one parent or legal guardian present. A notarized written permission is also acceptable. It must be written in English and needs to state the name, birth date, age of the minor child, along with the relationship of the person giving consent. The notary must note that the parent or guardian personally appeared before or was subscribed and sworn to.
If you are under 16, marriage can be authorized only by court order when the request has been filed by either parent or legal guardian.
  • New Hampshire: Applicants who has reached the age of 18 can marry without parental consent.
A female between the age of 13 and 17 years and a male between the age of 14 and 17 years can be married only with the permission of their parent (guardian) and a waiver (See Waiver).
A female below the age of 13 and a male below the age of 14 are not allowed to marry under any conditions.
The above regulations on age apply to New Hampshire residents or to a non-resident who desires to marry a resident. If both parties are non-residents and are below the age of 18 they cannot be married in N.H. under any conditions.
Waivers: When "good and special cause" is shown waivers may be obtained which can alter certain requirements.
Age: When either of the applicants is not yet 18 years of age but meets the minimum age requirements (See Age) whether a resident or marrying a resident of this state, when joined in the request by their parents or guardian, he/she may request and obtain permission to marry by applying to a justice of the superior court or to the judge of probate where one of the parties resides within N.H.
Waiting period: This requirement can be waived on application to a justice of the superior court or judge of probate within the county where the marriage is to take place.
  • New Jersey: Applicants must both be at least 18 years old, with one exception.
Applicants under 18 can marry if both parents consent to the marriage. The consent must be given under oath in front of two witnesses.
Male: 16 or younger parties may marry with parental consent and/or permission of judge. Younger parties may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child.
Female: 16 or younger parties may marry with parental consent and/or permission of judge. Younger parties may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child.
  • New Mexico: Both the bride and groom must appear in person at the time of applying.
Male or female under 16 years of age may not apply except with a court order.
Proof of Age Required: State original or certified copy of birth or baptismal certificate (hospital certificate is not acceptable).
Male or female: 16 years through 17 years of age may apply only with the consent of a parent or legal guardian, or with a court order.
Proof of age Required: State Original or certified copy of birth certificate, baptismal certificate or passport (hospital certificate is not acceptable).
Consent: Must be in person or in the form of a notarized and or witnessed statement in which person giving consent indicates that he/she is parent/guardian.
Male or female: 18 years through 20 years of age.
Proof of Age required. State Original or certified copy of birth certificate, baptismal certificate or military I.D. (Drivers license are only acceptable as proof of age for those 21 or older).
Male or female: 21 through 25.
Drivers license or other picture I.D.
  • New York: If either applicant is under 14 years of age, a marriage license cannot be issued.
If either applicant is 14 or 15 years of age, such applicant(s) must present the written consent of both parents and a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the Family Court having jurisdiction over the town or city in which the application is made.
If either applicant is 16 or 17 years of age, such applicant(s) must present the written consent of both parents.
If both applicants are 18 years of age or older, no consents are required.
  • North Carolina: Applicants 18 years of age or above may use 1 of the following I.D.'s:
Driver's license (may not be expired).
State-issued I.D. Card (may not be expired).
Passport (may not be expired).
Military I.D. (may not be expired).
Applicants 16 or 17 years of age must have certified copies of their birth certificate in order to acquire a license and a written parental consent by a parent having full or joint legal custody of the underage party; or by a person, agency, or institiution having legal custody or serving as a guardian of the underage party. Parental consent form.
Applicants over age 15 and under 16 must attain a Court Order by District Court Judge authorizing the marriage.
Applicants under age 15 is unlawful to marry.
Both bride and groom must provide their Social Security numbers and verification of the number. Applicants may present a Social Security card, W-2 form, or pay stub with the number as verification. Note: An alien admitted to the United States for permanent residence or to engage in employment must be issued a Social Security number.
Applicants who are not eligible for a Social Security number may obtain a marriage license by signing an affidavit attesting to this fact.  ::The affidavit is available in the Register of Deeds office or can be printed out here (affidavit). In addition, such applicants must provide proof of citizenship in the form of a duly stamped passport or green card.
  • Ohio: If you are 18 to 21 years of age, you will need to show your birth certificate.
Persons aged 16–17 must have consent to marry from parents or legal guardians and may have to contact the Probate Court. Additionally, the ::Judge may require the minors to state that they have received marriage counseling that is satisfactory to the court. Section 3101.05 also mentions how the court will deal with a pregnant minor.
  • Oklahoma: If you are under 18, your parents must appear at the courthouse with you to sign a consent form. Minors must wait three days before the marriage license is valid.
  • Oregon: Anyone not yet 17 years of age cannot be legally married in the State of Oregon.
A seventeen year-old can be married if they have the parent's or guardian's consent. Parent and guardian consent forms are available from the County Recording Office.
If you are seventeen and have resided within Washington County for at least six months, and no parent or guardian resides in the State of Oregon, you may be married if you have an affidavit signed by someone other than the bride or groom stating these facts. Affidavit forms are available from the County Recording Office.
  • Pennsylvania: Legal age for marriage in the State of Pennsylvania for both bride and groom is 18.
If under 18 years of age applicants may marry with consent of a parent or guardian. Applicants must present Birth Certificate plus an additional $5.00.
If Under 16 years of age with the approval of a Judge of the Orphans Court, as well as parent or guardian.
  • Rhode Island: A Minor's Permit to marry (VS 10) must be completed if a female applicant is 16 or 17 years of age. The permit must be signed and notarized in the presence of the City or Town Clerk or any clerk employed in that office. If this is not possible, contact the State Office of Vital Records for instructions.
A female under age 16 and a male under age 18 cannot secure a marriage license in the State of Rhode Island without the approval of the Family Court.
Applicants must be 18 or older to obtain a marriage license.
  • South Carolina: If you are under 18, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate and a notarized statement of parental consent.
The minimum age for a female is 15 (13 if she is pregnant, has a physician's statement verifying same, and the consent of her parents[95]) and it is 16 for a male.
Both the bride and groom need to be here at the same time to sign in our presence.
Proof of age must be determined by showing a driver's license, certified copy of a birth certificate or any photographic identification which includes the applicant's name and date of birth. Please bring with you one of these forms of identification.
The application is only good for 20 days, therefore, you may get your license on a Friday and get married the next day or that very same day if you wish. However, you cannot get your license in July and then get married in September.
A license may be purchased in any county in the State and the marriage solemnized in any county in the State. You must keep the license in the State to get married.
The cost of the license is $40.00. The preferred method of payment is cash.
If you are between the ages of 16 and 18:
You must have a parent or guardian's written notarized consent. The parent can either come with the bride and the groom upon getting the license or a Parental Consent Marriage Form. This form would need to be filled out and signed by the parent or guardian of the under-age bride or groom in front of a Notary Public. Once it is filled out and signed, please bring it along with you to get your license.
  • Tennessee: To obtain a marriage license in Tennessee, both parties must appear for the issuance of the license. A Social Security number is required for both parties. The age requirement for marriage in the State of Tennessee is as follows:
Over 21- picture ID
From 18 to 21, a birth certificate.
From 16 to 18, you must have both parents accompany you, and sign the approval affidavit and you must bring your birth certificate. There is a 3-day waiting period.
If either party is under the age of 16, a waiver must be issued from Juvenile Court.
  • Texas: Both parties must be 18 years or older, 17 years and under require parental consent.
  • Utah: Law states that marriage at the age of 18 years and above does not require parental consent.
For those aged 16–17, parental consent is necessary.
For those 15 years old, the following requirements must be met:
Parental consent must be obtained
Approval from Juvenile Court is necessary. The court must conclude that the marriage is voluntary and in the best interests of the minor.
The court may require premarital counselling where and when appropriate.
  • Vermont: If you are at least 16, but under 18, you will need the consent of a parent or guardian.
Anyone under guardianship may not marry without the guardian's written consent.
Vermont also does not allow marriage between most close relatives.
You cannot marry in Vermont to evade the laws of the state where you live.
You cannot marry if either of you is currently married to someone else.
The law also requires that both parties be of sound mind.
  • Virginia: The minimum age for marriage in the State of Virginia is 16[96] for both bride and groom; however, if either party is under eighteen, consent to the marriage must be given by the father, mother, or legal guardian.
This may be done personally by the parent or legal guardian before the person issuing the license, or by a written consent properly sworn to before a notary public.
Special provisions are made in Virginia law to allow marriage for underage parties when the female is pregnant and for situations in which underage applicants have no parent or legal guardian.
  • Washington: The bride and groom must be 18 years of age or older in order to apply for a license without parental or guardian consent.
If the bride and/or groom are 17 years of age, they must have parental and/or legal guardian consent to apply for a marriage license. ::Parents/Legal Guardians may come in with the couple and be sworn in with them before signing the consent form on the back of the marriage application or they may sign a notarized statement of consent.
All persons under the age of 17 must have parent and/or guardian consent and must present a court order obtained from Family Court and signed by a District Court judge with a court seal on it. There are no exceptions to this rule. Emancipated juveniles are still required to obtain a court order and/or parental consent—whichever applies.
All persons answering "yes" to the question "Are you under the control of a legal guardian?" must have their guardian's consent.
  • West Virginia: 18, 16 with parental or guardian consent. Special provisions allow marriage for underage parties when the female is pregnant and for situations in which underage applicants have no parent or legal guardian.
  • Wisconsin: 18, 16 with parental or guardian consent.
  • Wyoming: 18, 16 with parental or guardian consent, under 16 with permission of a Court Judge.

Oceania[edit]

CountryMale consertFemale consertNotes
Australia1816 with permission from a court and both parents (only granted in exceptional circumstances).[97]
New Zealand1816 with parental consent.[98]
Papua New Guinea21[99]

South America[edit]

CountryMale consertFemale consertNotes
Argentina18Lower with judicial consent only in exceptional cases.[100]
Brazil1816 with parental or guardian consent. The marriage of someone who is under 16 years can also be authorized, but only in cases of pregnancy, or to avoid the imposition of a criminal penalty (statutory rape).
Bolivia1614
Chile1816 with parental consent.
Colombia1815 with parental consent.
Ecuador18
Paraguay1614Article 39, clause "b", of the Paraguayan Civil Code reads: “The legal incapacity of minors will cease: ...(b) for gentlemen of 16 and for women of 14 years completed, through marriage, with the limitations established in this Code”.
Peru18
Venezuela1815 for females and 16 for males with parental consent.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]