Youngest Legal Marriage in Us

A nonprofit called Unchained at Last compiled statistics on marriages from 2000 to 2012. They found that in 38 states, more than 167,000 children — almost all girls, some as young as 12 — were married during that time, mostly to men aged 18 and older. It is estimated that the total number of child brides in America between 2000 and 2010 was nearly 248,000. At least 31 percent were married to a spouse aged 21 or older, though the actual number is likely higher because some states did not require a spouse`s age. These marriages have even taken place in states that have legal rape laws. Child marriage is defined as any marriage or similar union, formal or informal, when one or both parties are under the age of 18. Although the child bride can be a girl or a boy, the majority of child marriages take place between a minor girl and a man. Worldwide, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 each year. In Massachusetts, the general age of marriage is 18, but minors can be married with judicial approval. Unlike many other states,[2] child marriage in Massachusetts does not automatically emancipate the minor or increase his or her legal rights beyond allowing the minor to consent to certain medical treatments. [3] Planning for the big day should be a joyful, stress-free endeavor, but some couples may have questions about the validity of their union, particularly the age required for consent.

To make sure you meet the requirements for a valid marriage in your state, you should contact a local family law attorney. As of July 2022, seven states have banned underage marriages without exception: New Jersey (2018),[3] Delaware (2018),[4] Pennsylvania (2020),[5] Minnesota (2020),[6] Rhode Island (2021),[7] New York (2021),[8] and Massachusetts (2022). [9] American Samoa and the United States. The Virgin Islands in the U.S. territories also ended child marriage during this period. [10] [11] Several other U.S. states have similar laws pending. [12] Child marriage, which is generally applied, occurs in all countries, cultures and religions. It is increasingly seen as a form of child sexual abuse, and some international organizations have declared it a violation of human rights. Child marriage is fuelled by gender equality, poverty, traditions and insecurity. Studies in Africa and South Asia have shown that the causes and aggravating factors that contribute to child marriage are gender-based traditions and discriminatory norms rooted in patriarchal views and ideologies. The loss of educational opportunities and influence is of particular importance for those who oppose child marriage.

According to researchers like Martha Nussbaum, education is a crucial element in protecting one`s freedom or abilities. [80] This, in turn, limits their autonomy and ability to work, making them dependent on their spouse or caregiver. [74] [81] In California, the applicable law is found in California Family Code Sections 302 and 304 (2019): “An unmarried person under the age of 18 may obtain a marriage license if the person obtains a court order granting permission to the minor or minors to marry in accordance with the requirements described in Section 304.” [11] Historically, Section 56 of the California Civil Code (1872) established 15 as the age at which a woman could marry without her parents` consent. In 1921, the age was raised to 18. [12] Child marriage in general and child abuse in particular can have many effects on an individual. The most common is the tendency to be abused later in life. According to data compiled in 2015 by Jon D. Elhai, women who have experienced traumatic events in childhood, often suffer from mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, as well as low self-esteem. [74] [75] A link between childhood sexual abuse and drug abuse has also been established. [76] Ryan noted that child marriage is a multifaceted problem with lifelong consequences. In April 2018, Arizona raised the minimum age of marriage to 16.

These underage marriages must be approved by a higher court, must have the consent of the parents or an emancipated minor, and the age difference between the parties must not exceed 3 years. [83] Although 18 is the minimum age of marriage in most states, there are exceptions in each state that allow children under 18 to marry, usually with parental consent or judicial approval.

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