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Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Teen Marriage – At what age can teenagers marry?

Teenagers these days are empowering themselves with information. They want to know what their rights are. I recently had an inquiry about when a pregnant teen could get married. As a general rule, unless the teen is age 18, the custodial parent’s signature is required. There is no special rule that allows a teen to get married because she is pregnant, or a male teen to get married because he has made his girlfriend pregnant.

If parental consent is obtained, then both teens must go to the local county courthouse to obtain a marriage license. They should bring their identification. There is an application and fee, and a waiting period after the application is submitted. If the magistrate is going to solemnize the marriage, then an appointment must be made. Some states require blood tests and counseling for example. It is most prudent to pick up an application ahead of time to determine what is needed and allow for time to comply with all requirements of the application.

Each state has laws that place restrictions on certain marriages with regard to mental capacity, age and gender. Of course, all marriages must be entered into voluntarily. The minimum age without parental consent is 18. Typically, teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 may marry, provided the teenager obtains consent of either a parent or guardian. Some states allow a person under age 15 to marry if the license has been issued by order of a judge upon good cause shown and by reason of such unusual conditions as to make such marriage advisable.

Additional resources:
Missouri law

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