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Marriage Age Requirements laws

Information on the law about Marriage Age Requirements

The laws regulating marriage are quite uniform. The right to marry is considered very personal, and once the "age of majority," or when one can marry without the permission of a parent or guardian, is reached, it is the couple's sole decision whether or not to marry. However, below this age, parental consent is required (though states do not require the consent of a parent or guardian who is not present in the country or who has abandoned his or her child). The age of majority is now universally eighteen, except in Mississippi, where the parties need to be twenty-one.

While only three states, California, Kansas, and Massachusetts, have no statutory minimum age under which marriage licenses will not be issued, many states with a minimum age requirement do permit marriages between minors under that age. Virtually all states allowing the marrying of minors require court approval in addition to parental consent. A growing number of states now require counseling for minors seeking to marry. Provisions for underage marriages exist in order to permit pregnant minor females and/or couples to marry, and prevailing code language still clearly reflects that bias. Ohio has the most explicit rule on this issue. In that state, the juvenile court is authorized to grant official consent to the marriage of underage persons, and the probate court issues the license. According to Ohio statutes, the probate court may delay issuing the license until the court is convinced that the female is pregnant and will carry the child to term or may even delay issuance of the license until the baby is born.

Table 29: Marriage Age Requirements

State Code Section Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent Comments
ALABAMA 30-1-4, 5 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Marriage under 16 is voidable, not void. Marriage between 16 and 18 without parental consent is not grounds for annulment.
ALASKA 25.05.171 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Superior court judge may grant permission for person over 14 at hearing with parents and minor.
ARIZONA 25-102 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may be allowed to marry with parental consent and approval of superior court judge.
ARKANSAS 9-11-102 to 105 Male: 17; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under minimum age may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child, with parental consent and judicial order.
CALIFORNIA Family §300-303 Male: No age limit; Female: No age limit Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 18 need parental consent and a court order obtained on the showing the court requires
COLORADO 14-2-106, 108 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may be allowed to marry with parental consent and/or approval of juvenile court judge (if parents not living together).
CONNECTICUT 46b-30 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may be allowed to marry with parental consent and consent of probate judge.
DELAWARE Tit. 13 §123 Male: 18; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under minimum age may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child with medical certification.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA §46-403, 411 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Parental consent not required if minor was previously married.
FLORIDA 741.0405 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Parental consent not required if minor was previously married or parents are deceased. Under age 18, a county judge has discretion whether or not to give license if the couple has a child or is expecting one (upon sworn affidavits that they are the parents).
GEORGIA 19-3-2, 19-3-37 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under minimum age may obtain license without parental consent in case of pregnancy or birth of child. Parents must appear before judge to consent to marriage.

Table 29: Marriage Age Requirements—Continued

State Code Section Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent Comments
HAWAII §572-1 (2), 572-2 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 In certain circumstances, 15 year olds may obtain license, but never under 15.
IDAHO 32-202 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under age 16 may obtain license with parental consent and order of the court.
ILLINOIS 750 ILCS 5/203, 5/208 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 If no parents to consent, judicial consent with finding that parties are capable of marriage. No provisions for marriage under age 16.
INDIANA 31-11-1-4 to 31-11-1-6 Male: 17; Female: 17 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors ages 15-17 may obtain license in case of pregnancy, birth of child and with approval of judge of superior or county court.
IOWA 595.2 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female:18 Minors 16-17 may obtain license without parental consent with approval of court if both parents dead or incompetent or marriage in parties' best interest.
KANSAS 23-106 Male: not specified; Female: not specified Male: 18; Female: 18 No statutory provision for minimum age with consent. Common law prevails. See State v. Wade, 766 P. 2d 811 at 815.
KENTUCKY 402.020 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under age 18 may obtain license without parental consent in case of pregnancy or birth of child and with permission of district court judge.
LOUISIANA Children's Code Art. 1545, et seq. Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minor under 16 must obtain both parental consent and authorization of court.
MAINE 19-A §652 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may be allowed to marry with parental consent and approval of court.
MARYLAND Fam. Law 2-301 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 15 yrs. old may not marry. Minors 15 yrs. old may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child with parental consent.
MASSACHUSETTS Ch. 207§7, 24, 25 Male: not specified; Female: not specified Male: 18; Female: 18 No statutory provision for minimum age with consent. Common law prevails. If parent deserted or incapable of consent, not necessary to obtain consent.
MICHIGAN MCLA §551.51 & 551.103; 551.201 Male: 16; Female: 16; (consent of 1 of the parents required of both sexes) Male: 18; Female: 18  

Table 29: Marriage Age Requirements—Continued

State Code Section Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent Comments
MINNESOTA 517.02 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18  
MISSISSIPPI 93-1-5 Male: 17; Female: 15 Male: 21; Female: 21 Minors under minimum age may obtain license with parental consent and approval of court. Minor females age 15 yrs. and older and males 17 yrs. and older but under 21 may obtain license with parental consent and court order.
MISSOURI 451.090 Male: 15; Female: 15 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 15 may obtain license under special circumstances and for good cause.
MONTANA 40-1-213; 40-1-202 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors age 16 or 17 must participate in marriage counseling and must show capable of marriage.
NEBRASKA 42-102, 42-105 Male: 17; Female: 17 Male: 18; Female: 18  
NEVADA 122.020, 025 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license by parental consent and approval of court in extraordinary circumstances.
NEW HAMPSHIRE 457:4 to 457:6 Male: 14; Female: 13 Male: 18; Female: 18 Any marriage contracted by persons under 18 may, in discretion of superior court, be annulled at suit of the party who at the time of marriage was under 18. The parent or guardian can also annul, unless the parties confirm marriage upon reaching age of consent (18 years).
NEW JERSEY 37:1-6 Male: 16; Female: 16 (unless parents of unsound mind) Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license by parental consent and approval of court. If male under 18 yrs. old and has been arrested on charge of sexual intercourse with single female who thereby became pregnant, consent not required.
NEW MEXICO 40-1-5 to 6 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may only obtain license by order of children's court or family division of district court. Courts may authorize marriage in settlement of action to compel support, and establish parentage, or in case of pregnancy.

Table 29: Marriage Age Requirements—Continued

State Code Section Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent Comments
NEW YORK Dom. Rel. §§7, 15, 15a Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 must have approval of parents and court. Minors 16 and 17 must have only parental consent. No license to minors under 14.
NORTH CAROLINA 51-2, 51-2.1 Male: 16; Female: 16 (One or both parents' consent unless minor has certificate of emancipation) Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors 14-15 may obtain license with court order in case of pregnancy or birth of child.
NORTH DAKOTA 14-03-02 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 No license issued to persons under 16.
OHIO 3101.01 to 3101.05 Male: 18; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Parties under minimum age may marry with consent of juvenile court where female is pregnant and intends to have the child.
OKLAHOMA Tit. 43 §3 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child with parental consent and court authorization.
OREGON 106.010, 106.060 Male: 17; Female: 17 Male: 18; Female: 18 If parent is out of state and either party is a resident, parental consent not required.
PENNSYLVANIA Tit. 23 §1304(1) to (2) Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license with parental consent and approval of court if in best interest of applicant.
RHODE ISLAND 15-2-11 Male: 18; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Younger parties may obtain license in special circumstances.
SOUTH CAROLINA 20-1-250, 20-1-300 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Younger parties may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child (with proof of pregnancy from doctor) and with consent of one of the parents of the female.
SOUTH DAKOTA 25-1-9 Male: 16; Female: 16; (consent of 1 parent) Male: 18; Female: 18  
TENNESSEE 36-3-104 to 107 Male: 16; Female: 16; (3 day waiting period except for certain circumstances where waived) Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license in special circumstances.

Table 29: Marriage Age Requirements—Continued

State Code Section Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent Comments
TEXAS §2.102 §2.101, 2.103 Male: 14; Female: 14; (consent must be given during 30 day period immediately preceding the date of application for license) Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 18 can petition court in his own name for permission to marry
UTAH 30-1-2; 30-1-9; 30-1- 30, 31 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Exceptions may be made for persons who are 15 yrs. old with court approval. A minor who is 15 yrs. old and his or her parent must petition to the court for permission for the minor to marry.
VERMONT Tit. 18 §5142 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license with parental consent and court order that "public good" requires them to be married. Marriage when minor is under 14 is prohibited.
VIRGINIA 20-48, 49 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Parental consent not required if minor was emancipated. Minors under 16 may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child with parental consent and proof of pregnancy from a doctor.
WASHINGTON 26.04.010 Male: 17; Female: 17 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 17 may obtain license in special circumstances.
WEST VIRGINIA 48-2-301 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license with parental consent and court order.
WISCONSIN 765.02 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18  
WYOMING 20-1-102 Male: 16; Female: 16 Male: 18; Female: 18 Minors under 16 may obtain license in special circumstances.

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