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Marriage Age Requirements

31. 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 couples 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 31: Marriage Age Requirements
StateCode SectionMinimum Legal Age With Parental ConsentMinimum Legal Age Without Parental ConsentComments
ALABAMA30-1-4, 5Male: 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.
ALASKA25.05.171Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Superior court judge may grant permission for person over 14 at hearing with parents and minor.
ARIZONA25-102Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 16 may be allowed to marry with parental consent and approval of superior court judge.
ARKANSAS9-11-102 to 105Male: 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.
CALIFORNIAFamily §300-303Male: 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
COLORADO14-2-106, 108Male: 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).
CONNECTICUT46b-30Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 16 may be allowed to marry with parental consent and consent of probate judge.
DELAWARETit. 13 §123Male: 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, 411Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Parental consent not required if minor was previously married.
FLORIDA741.0405Male: 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).
GEORGIA19-3-2, 19-3-37Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Parents must appear before judge to consent to marriage.
HAWAII§572-1 (2), 572-2Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
In certain circumstances, 15 year olds may obtain license, but never under 15.
StateCode SectionMinimum Legal Age With Parental ConsentMinimum Legal Age Without Parental ConsentComments
IDAHO32-202Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under age 16 may obtain license with parental consent and order of the court.
ILLINOIS750 ILCS 5/203, 5/208Male: 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.
INDIANA31-11-1-4 to 31-11-1-6Male: 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.
IOWA595.2Male: 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.
KANSAS23-106Male: 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.
KENTUCKY402.020Male: 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.
LOUISIANAChildrens 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.
MAINE19-A §652Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 16 may be allowed to marry with parental consent and approval of court.
MARYLANDFam. Law 2-301Male: 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.
MASSACHUSETTSCh. 207§7, 24, 25Male: 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.
MICHIGANMCLA §551.51 & 551.103; 551.201Male: 16;Female: 16; (consent of 1 of the parents required of both sexes)Male: 18;
Female: 18
 
MINNESOTA517.02Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
 
StateCode SectionMinimum Legal Age With Parental ConsentMinimum Legal Age Without Parental ConsentComments
MISSISSIPPI93-1-5Male: 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.
MISSOURI451.090Male: 15;
Female: 15
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 15 may obtain license under special circumstances and for good cause.
MONTANA40-1-213; 40-1-202Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors age 16 or 17 must participate in marriage counseling and must show capable of marriage.
NEBRASKA42-102, 42-105Male: 17;
Female: 17
Male: 18;
Female: 18
 
NEVADA122.020, 025Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 16 may obtain license by parental consent and approval of court in extraordinary circumstances.
NEW HAMPSHIRE457:4 to 457:6Male: 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 JERSEY37:1-6Male: 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 MEXICO40-1-5 to 6Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 16 may only obtain license by order of childrens 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.
NEW YORKNY DRL §§7, 15, 15aMale: 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.
StateCode SectionMinimum Legal Age With Parental ConsentMinimum Legal Age Without Parental ConsentComments
NORTH CAROLINA51-2, 51-2.1Male: 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 DAKOTA14-03-02Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
No license issued to persons under 16.
OHIO3101.01 to 3101.05Male: 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.
OKLAHOMATit. 43 §3Male: 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.
OREGON106.010, 106.060Male: 17;
Female: 17
Male: 18;
Female: 18
If parent is out of state and either party is a resident, parental consent not required.
PENNSYLVANIATit. 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 ISLAND15-2-11Male: 18;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Younger parties may obtain license in special circumstances.
SOUTH CAROLINA20-1-250, 20-1-300Male: 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 DAKOTA25-1-9Male: 16;
Female: 16;
(consent of 1 parent)
Male: 18;
Female: 18
 
TENNESSEE36-3-104 to 107Male: 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.
TEXAS§2.102 §2.101, 2.103Male: 16;
Female: 16;
(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
StateCode SectionMinimum Legal Age With Parental ConsentMinimum Legal Age Without Parental ConsentComments
UTAH30-1-2; 30-1-9; 30-1-30, 31Male: 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.
VERMONTTit. 18 §5142Male: 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.
VIRGINIA20-48, 49Male: 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.
WASHINGTON26.04.010Male: 17;
Female: 17
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 17 may obtain license in special circumstances.
WEST VIRGINIA48-2-301Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 16 may obtain license with parental consent and court order.
WISCONSIN765.02Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
 
WYOMING20-1-102Male: 16;
Female: 16
Male: 18;
Female: 18
Minors under 16 may obtain license in special circumstances.

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