A teen marriage occurs when a couple whose ages are below the minimum age requirement for marriage (usually 18 years old) wants to get married. This legally proscribed age requirement is known as the “age of majority”. It is also the primary issue found in most teen marriage cases (i.e., whether or not one or both parties are of legal age to be married).
There are many different arguments and various concerns regarding the topic of when a couple should be considered old or mature enough to get married, especially when they do not have parental consent. The reason for this is because the act of getting married releases the minors (i.e., emancipates them) from their parents without needing to meet any additional requirements.
Another major concern is that the couple may be too young to possess the legal capacity that is necessary to form an agreement because they are not of legal age yet. For instance, most states do not permit minors to enter into legal contracts. Marriage is considered a contract.
This factor can cause other legal issues to arise, such as whether a married teen couple is allowed to purchase property since that would involve entering into a contract as well.
What Are Some General Guidelines for a Teen Marriage?
Every state has their own variations regarding state guidelines on teen marriage. However, there are some key governing principles that apply to most states when it comes to how to navigate teen marriage laws. These general approaches may include the following:
- Nearly all states require the couple to be 18 years old in order to enter into a marriage without a parent or guardian’s permission (though the exact age can vary slightly depending on the state).
- Some states may waive the 18 years of age requirement if the reason they are getting married is partly based on a pregnancy. Such waivers might also apply if the couple already has a child together.
- Many states require court or judicial approval for the marriage as well if one of the parties happens to be 16 years old or younger.
As previously mentioned, however, each state’s teen marriage laws will differ and can change based on a number of factors. These include whether or not the consent of one or both sets of parents is required, or whether it is necessary to have only one parent or judicial official consent to the marriage.
Thus, it is important that the parties check with the laws that apply in their jurisdiction and to consult with a lawyer if they are unsure about specific state rules or have any other questions relating to their particular state’s teen marriage law requirements.
What are Some Legal Issues to Consider Involving a Teen Marriage?
Aside from the age requirement, there are many other legal issues that can arise regarding a marriage.
One major legal issue that the parties should consider is whether there are factors present that may cause the marriage to be seen as fraudulent or if some sort of fraud was committed in connection with the marriage. The law takes these types of matters very seriously and as such, being convicted of fraud or having a fraudulent marriage can result in harsh legal consequences.
For example, if one party intentionally misrepresents their age at the time of the marriage in order to trick the other party into marrying them. This usually is the case when one spouse later discovers that the other party was actually underage at the time the marriage took place. The unknowing party will then have sufficient grounds to request that their marriage be annulled.
The term “annulment” basically means that the marriage can be cancelled in a way that is as if it never existed.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with Teen Marriage Laws?
Teen marriage laws can vary widely from state to state. As such, the laws where you live may be different from those that apply in another jurisdiction. Also, depending on the circumstances of the case, it may require that the court review two different sets of state laws, which can make teen marriage issues very confusing.
Therefore, it may be in your best interest to speak with a local family law attorney to gain a better understanding of how these laws may affect the outcome of your case.
An experienced family law attorney will also be able to assist you with the process of filing for a marriage license or getting your marriage certificate.
Finally, if you any have questions about bringing a legal claim or you wish to file a lawsuit in regard to issues relating to either a prior or existing marriage, then a lawyer can help guide you through these procedures as well.