Teen Marriage Law TrendsAs a teenager considering marriage, do you know how old you have to be to legally get married? You need to know the legalities and requirements concerning teen marriage in the locale where you want to get married. Many states' teen marriage laws are making it harder for teens to marry.
There are recent studies that indicate that teen marriage is simply not a good idea. Marriage license laws in the United States are reflecting that belief.
In the United States, all but one state requires that a couple be 18 in order to marry without parental permission. Nebraska sets the age of majority at 19. Although a few states will waive this requirement if there is a pregnancy, teenage couples may still have to have court approval.
A few states allow pregnant teens or teens who have already had a child to get married without parental consent but these couples must have permission from a court.
Even with parental approval, many states require court approval when a person is 16 years old or less.
State-by-State Teen Marriage License LawsAlabama: If either of you are under eighteen (18), you will need a certified copy of your 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. The state requires a $200 bond to be executed, payable to the State of Alabama. If one or both parents are deceased, proper evidence of such must be provided. Individuals under the age of 14 may not marry.
Alaska: If either of you are under eighteen (18), you will 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.
Arizona: If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must have the notarized consent of your parents or legal guardian. If you are under sixteen (16), you must have the notarized consent of your parents or legal guardian as well as a court order.
Arkansas: Parental consent is needed if under eighteen (18) years of age. You need to present a state certified copy of your birth certificate, an active Military ID card, or a valid passport. Your parent must be present to sign the marriage book with the applicants when the license is issued. If a parent is unable to sign, due to death, separation, divorce or other circumstances, you must produce certified papers for verification of those circumstances. Males under the age of seventeen (17) and females under (16) cannot marry without a court order. This is usually given only in extreme circumstances, such as if the female teen is pregnant or the teenage couple already has a child together.
California: If either of you is under eighteen (18) years of age, you will need to make an appointment with a counselor, appear before a superior court judge, show certified copies of your birth certificates, and have one parent appear with you when you apply for the marriage license.
Colorado: If you are sixteen (16) or seventeen (17), you need consent of both parents (or parent having legal custody), or guardian, or seek judicial approval. If you are under sixteen (16), a Judicial Court Order along with parental consent is necessary. As of 6/15/06, there is a controversial ruling regarding minimum age in Colorado.
Connecticut: If under sixteen (16) years of age, a written consent of the judge of probate for the district where the minor teen resides must be obtained. Written parental consent is needed if under eighteen (18) years of age.
Delaware: You need signed parental consent forms provided by the Clerk of the Peace office if you are under eighteen (18) years of age.
District of Columbia: You need signed parental or guardian consent forms if you are under eighteen (18) years of age. If you are under sixteen (16) years of age, you cannot marry in the District of Columbia.
Florida: If a teen is under eighteen (18) years of age, but older than sixteen (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 teen who has been previously married may 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 verfied 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.