Age of marriage in the United States

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General age of marriage (without parental or court approval or other exceptions taken into account) (only shows the 50 states, no territories)
  18
  19
  21

Unlike most Western countries, 18 of the U.S. states do not have a legal minimum age of marriage. Individuals aged 18 have the ability to marry in United States states except Nebraska (19) and Mississippi (21). In addition, all states, except Delaware and New Jersey, allow minors to marry in certain circumstances, such as parental consent, judicial consent, pregnancy, or a combination of these situations. In half of the states, children under 16 can be married too. In the 32 states [1] which have an absolute minimum age set by statute, this age varies between 14 and 18, while in 18 states there is no statutory minimum age if other legal conditions are met. Although in such states there is no set minimum age by statute, the traditional common law minimum age is 14 for boys and 12 for girls - ages which have been confirmed by case law in some states.[2] Over the past 15 years, more than 200,000 minors married in US, and in Tennessee girls as young as 10 were married in 2001,[3] before the state finally set a minimum age of 17 in 2018.[4]

List[edit]

Name Type Minimum age Notes
Statutory age when all exceptions are taken into account[2] General age
 Alabama[5] State 16 18
 Alaska[6] State 14 18
 American Samoa[7] Territory 18 18 Since 2018, the marriage age is 18 for both sexes. In September 2018, governor Lolo Moliga signed into law a bill changing the marriage age for girls from 14 to 18.[8]
 Arizona[9][10] State 16 18 Since 2018, the minimum age with approval of a superior court judge and parental consent is 16.[9][10]
 Arkansas[6] State none 18
 California[11] State none 18 No minimum age with approval of a superior court judge and parental consent.
 Colorado[6][12][13] State none 18 No minimum age with judicial approval and parental consent.
 Connecticut[14] State 16 18 Since 2017, the minimum age is 16 with parental and judicial consent.[14]
 Delaware[6] State 18 18 Since May 2018, the Delaware child marriage ban bill was signed into law and went into effect immediately to implement a clear minimum age of 18 with no exceptions.[15][16][17]
 District of Columbia[6] Federal District 16 18
 Florida State 17 18 Since July 1, 2018 17-year-olds need both parental and judicial approval and may not marry anyone more than 2 years older.[18][19]
 Georgia[6] State 16 18
 Guam[20] Territory 16 18 The consent of at least one parent or guardian is required for a person aged 16 or 17 to get married.
 Hawaii[6] State 15 18 15 with parental or judicial consent.
 Idaho[6] State none 18
 Illinois[6] State 16 18
 Indiana[21] State 15 18 15 in the case of pregnancy with both parental and judicial consent.
 Iowa[6] State 16 18
 Kansas[6] State 15 18
 Kentucky[22] State 17 18 Since 2018, 17-year-olds need judicial approval.[23]
 Louisiana[6] State none 18
 Maine[6] State none 18
 Maryland[6] State 15 18
 Massachusetts[6] State none[24] 18 Consent can be just judicial, but is normally both parental and judicial. In the absence of any statutory minimum age, one opinion is that the traditional minimum common law marriageable age of 12 for girls and 14 for boys may still be in effect.[25][26]
 Michigan[citation needed][27] State none 18 16 with parental consent
 Minnesota[6] State 16 18
 Mississippi State none 21 females 15–21 and males 17–21 can marry with parental consent alone[28]
 Missouri[29] State 16[30] 18 In July 2018 a bill was signed into law by the Governor of Missouri, to implement an absolute minimum age of 16 and to ban people over 21 years old marrying people under the age of 18. The law went into effect on August 28, 2018.[31][32][33][34][35]
 Montana[6] State 16 18
 Nebraska[6] State 17 19
 Nevada[6] State none 18
 New Hampshire[36] State 16 (in effect from January 1, 2019) 18 In 2018, the minimum age was set at 16 (in effect from 1 January, 2019).[37][38][39]
 New Jersey[40] State 18 18 Since June 2018, the New Jersey child marriage ban bill was signed into law and went into effect immediately to implement a clear minimum age of 18 with no exceptions.[41]
 New Mexico[6] State none 18
 New York[42] State 17 18 Since 2017, the minimum age is 17 with parental and judicial consent.
 North Carolina State 14 18
  North Dakota[6] State 16 18 16 with parental consent [43].
 Northern Mariana Islands Territory 16 (females) 18 (males) 18 Males at the time of marriage must be at least 18 years of age, while females aged 16-17 can marry with the consent of at least one parent or guardian.[44]
 Ohio[45] State none 18 18 for males regardless of parental consent. 16 for females with parental consent, 18 for females without parental consent.[45]
 Oklahoma[6] State none 18
 Oregon[6] State 17 18 Consenting parent or guardian must accompany the applicant when applying for the marriage license.
 Pennsylvania[citation needed] State none 18 Under 16 years of age if a Judge of the Orphans Court "decides that it is to the best interest of the applicant and authorizes the issuance of the license."[46]
 Puerto Rico[6] Territory 16 (females) 18 (males) 21 Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, and its people are Americans.
 Rhode Island[6] State none 18
 South Carolina[6] State 16/none (conflicting laws) 18 The age is 16, with parental consent, but there is controversy regarding the interpretation of the law, which some judges consider to allow marriage without an age limit in case of pregnancy.[47]
 South Dakota[6] State 16 18
 Tennessee[48] State 17 18 In 2018, the minimum age was set to 17 and no minor can marry someone more than 4 years older.[49][4]
 Texas[50] State 16 18 Since 2017, the minimum age is 18, however emancipated minors aged 16–17 have an exemption to legally marry.[51][52][53]
 U.S. Virgin Islands[54] Territory 14 (females) 16 (males) 18
 Utah[55] State 15 18 15 with court approval and parental consent.
 Vermont[6] State 16 18
 Virginia State 16 18 In 2016, VA made 18 the minimum age; and 16 with court approval in special cases[56][57]
 Washington[6] State none 18 May be waived by superior court judge.[58]
 West Virginia[6] State none 18 No minimum with both parental and judicial consent
 Wisconsin[6] State 16 18
 Wyoming[6] State none 18

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ in 2017, Connecticut and Texas became the 24th and 25th states to set a minimum age [1] [2], and in 2018, Florida, Kentucky, Arizona, Delaware, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Missouri became the 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, and 32nd states to set a minimum age [3] [4][5][6][7][8][9]
  2. ^ a b "Understanding State Statutes on Minimum Marriage Age and Exceptions". Tahirih Justice Center. November 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  3. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/200000-children-married-us-15-years-child-marriage-child-brides-new-jersey-chris-christie-a7830266.html
  4. ^ a b "Gov. Bill Haslam signs law banning Tennessee marriage of minors under 17". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2018-05-31. 
  5. ^ "Section 30-1-4: Minimum age for contracting marriage". Code of Alabama. Alabama Legislature. 1975. Retrieved 2017-06-03. A person under the age of 16 years is incapable of contracting marriage. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "Marriage Laws of the Fifty States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico". Legal Information Institute. 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  7. ^ https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/366260/governor-moliga-signs-into-law-bill-to-increase-marriage-age-for-girls
  8. ^ https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/366260/governor-moliga-signs-into-law-bill-to-increase-marriage-age-for-girls
  9. ^ a b [10]
  10. ^ a b Renick, Christie (April 13, 2018). "Arizona Sets Minimum Age for Marriage of Minors". Chronicle of Social Change. Retrieved May 7, 2018. 
  11. ^ "California Marriage Age Requirements Laws". findlaw.com. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  12. ^ "Office of the Clerk and Recorder: Marriage & Recording / License Information / Marriage of Minors". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  13. ^ C.R.S. Colorado Revised Statutes 14-2-106
  14. ^ a b https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB05442&which_year=2017
  15. ^ [11]
  16. ^ [12]
  17. ^ [13]
  18. ^ [14]
  19. ^ [15]
  20. ^ http://www.guamcourts.org/CompilerofLaws/GCA/19gca/19gc003.PDF
  21. ^ "IC 31-11-1: ARTICLE 11. FAMILY LAW: MARRIAGE". Indiana Code 2016. Indiana General Assembly. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  22. ^ [16]
  23. ^ [17]
  24. ^ "Nonage minors; authorization of marriage", General Laws: Chapter 207, Section 25, Massachusetts General Court, retrieved 2017-06-03 
  25. ^ Richards, Victoria (2016-03-09). "Child marriage chart reveals girls can wed at 12 in some parts of the US - as lawmakers battle to raise age to 16". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  26. ^ Hayden, Meg (2007-01-08). "Child Brides". Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  27. ^ "Section 551.103: MARRIAGE LICENSE (EXCERPT), Act 128 of 1887". Michigan Legislature. 2015. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  28. ^ "Title 93 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS, Chapter 1 - MARRIAGE § 93-1-5 - Conditions precedent to issuance of license; penalty for noncompliance". 2013 Mississippi Code. Retrieved 2017-06-03. Every male who is at least seventeen (17) years old and every female who is at least fifteen (15) years old shall be capable in law of contracting marriage. 
  29. ^ https://legiscan.com/MO/bill/SB655/2018
  30. ^ [18]
  31. ^ [19]
  32. ^ [20]
  33. ^ [21]
  34. ^ [22]
  35. ^ [23]
  36. ^ "TITLE XLIII: DOMESTIC RELATIONS, CHAPTER 457: MARRIAGES, Age: Section 457:4". New Hampshire General Court. Archived from the original on 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  37. ^ [24]
  38. ^ [25]
  39. ^ [26]
  40. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-marriage-children/new-jersey-law-gives-momentum-to-u-s-efforts-to-ban-child-marriage-idUSKBN1JI2X9
  41. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-marriage-children/new-jersey-law-gives-momentum-to-u-s-efforts-to-ban-child-marriage-idUSKBN1JI2X9
  42. ^ https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/20/us-new-york-governor-signs-anti-child-marriage-law "Human Rights Watch: NY State Marriage Laws Update 2016/2017". Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch. June 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  43. ^ http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t14c03.pdf
  44. ^ http://www.saipanmayor.net/resources/files/MOS%20UPDATED%20MARRIAGE%20APPLICATION_2015.pdf
  45. ^ a b "Ohio's Marriage Laws". Ohio State Bar Association. 2015-08-21. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  46. ^ "Title 23: CHAPTER 13, MARRIAGE LICENSE". Pennsylvania General Assembly. Retrieved 2017-06-03.  |
  47. ^ http://fortune.com/2018/06/22/south-carolina-child-brides-underage-marriage/
  48. ^ https://legiscan.com/TN/bill/HB2134/2017
  49. ^ [27]
  50. ^ http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB1705
  51. ^ [28]
  52. ^ [29]
  53. ^ [30]
  54. ^ "Virgin Islands Code 16 V.I.C. ch. 1 § 2". Virgin Islands Code. LexisNexis. Retrieved September 17, 2018. 
  55. ^ "Marriage Licenses". Courts of Utah. 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  56. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (2016-07-03). "Why 13-year-olds can no longer marry in Virginia". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  57. ^ Tsui, Anjali (2016-07-08). "America's child marriage crisis: Virginia law tackles continuing issue". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-06-03. 
  58. ^ "RCW 26.04.010 Marriage contract — Void marriages". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. 2016-12-23. Retrieved 2017-06-03. Every marriage entered into in which either person has not attained the age of seventeen years is void except where this section has been waived by a superior court judge of the county in which one of the parties resides on a showing of necessity.