Age of marriage in the United States

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General age of marriage (without parental or court approval or other exceptions taken into account) (only shows the 50 states, no territories)

The minimum age for marriage in the United States is set by each state. For all states except two, a couple may marry without the requirement for parental consent when both are 18 years of age or older (in Nebraska, both must be over 19, and in Mississippi, over 21.) In most states, couples are allowed to marry at a younger age with the consent of both parents or with judicial consent; the minimum age for marriage when all exemptions are taken into account varies from state to state.

34 states [1] have an absolute minimum age for marriage, even when exemptions are included, set by statute. This age varies between 14 and 18.

In the remaining states, there is a separate minimum age for marriage with parental consent, but legal exceptions exist which can allow marriage at ages below the minimum marriage age in some cases, mostly requiring both parental and judicial consent, which is often allowed only in the case of pregnancy. 16 of the U.S. states do not have a legal minimum age of marriage when these judicial exceptions are taken into account. Although in such states there is no set minimum age by statute, the traditional common law minimum age is 14 for boys and 12 for girls - ages which have been confirmed by case law in some states.[2]

In 23 of the states, children under 16 can be married. Over the past 15 years, more than 200,000 minors married in US, and in Tennessee girls as young as 10 were married in 2001,[3] before the state set a minimum age of 17 in 2018.[4]



Name Minimum age Notes
Statutory age when all exceptions are taken into account[2] General age
 Alabama[5] 16 18
 Alaska[6] 14 18
 Arizona[7][8] 16 18 Since 2018, the minimum age with approval of a superior court judge and parental consent is 16.[7][8]
 Arkansas[9] 17 18 Since April 2019, the minimum marriage age with both parental and judicial consent is explicitly 17 - by a bill passed by the Arkansas General Assembly and a Governor of Arkansas signature into law.[10]
 California[11] none 18 Since 1 January 2019 partners and the parents of minors will have to meet separately with court officials who can assess whether there is abuse or coercion. Minors also will have to wait at least 30 days before getting married, unless they are 17 and a high school graduate or one of the partners is pregnant.[12][13]
 Colorado[6][14][15] none 18 No minimum age with judicial approval and parental consent.
 Connecticut[16] 16 18 Since 2017, the minimum age is 16 with parental and judicial consent.[16]
 Delaware[6] 18 18 In May 2018, the Delaware child marriage ban bill was signed into law and went into effect immediately to implement a clear minimum age of 18 with no exceptions.[17][18][19]
 Florida 17 18 Since July 1, 2018 17-year-olds need both parental and judicial approval and may not marry anyone more than 2 years older.[20][21]
 Georgia[22] 17 18 In May 2019, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill and the Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp signed a bill to raise the marriage age explicitly from 16 to 17, must be emancipated minors, must have completed a premarital education course, and cannot marry anyone more than four years older than themselves. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2019.[23][24]
 Hawaii[6] 15 18 15-years-olds require both parental and judicial consent, and 16-17-years-olds require only parental consent.[25]
 Idaho[26][27] none 18 Minimum age 16 with the consent of the parent or guardian. "Children under the age of 16 can get a license to marry with written parental consent and a court order. A hearing will be held on the petition to marry under the age of 16 and the minors must be found physically and mentally developed to assume full marital and parental duties as proven by the testimony of a physician, or it must be in the “best interest of society” that the marriage be permitted."[27]
 Illinois[6] 16 18
 Indiana[28] 15 18 15 in the case of pregnancy with both parental and judicial consent.
 Iowa[6] 16 18
 Kansas[6] 15 18
 Kentucky[29] 17 18 Since 2018, 17-year-olds need judicial approval.[29]
 Louisiana[6] none 18
 Maine[6] none 18
 Maryland[6] 15 18
 Massachusetts[6] none[30] 18 Consent can be just judicial, but is normally both parental and judicial. In the absence of any statutory minimum age, one opinion is that the traditional minimum common law marriageable age of 12 for girls and 14 for boys may still be in effect.[31][32]
 Michigan[33] none 18 16 with parental consent; as an exception a judge can allow a marriage under 16[34]
 Minnesota[6] 16 18
 Mississippi none 21 females 15–21 and males 17–21 can marry with parental consent alone[35]
 Missouri[36] 16[37] 18 In July 2018 a bill was signed into law by the Governor of Missouri, to implement an absolute minimum age of 16 and to ban people over 21 years old marrying people under the age of 18. The law went into effect on August 28, 2018.[37][38][39][40][36]
 Montana[6] 16 18
 Nebraska[6] 17 19
 Nevada[6] 17 (eff. October 1, 2019)[41][42] 18 From October 1, 2019 within Nevada, 17 becomes the minimum age of marriage with 4 explicit requirements of - (1) parental or guardian consent; (2) proof of Nevada residence; (3) no more than a three year age gap between both parties; and (4) a court order within the state.[43][44]
 New Hampshire[45] 16 18 Since 1 January, 2019 the absolute minimum age of marriage was legally set at 16.[46][47][48]
 New Jersey[49] 18 18 In June 2018, the New Jersey child marriage ban bill was signed into law and went into effect immediately to implement a clear minimum age of 18 with no exceptions.[49]
 New Mexico[6] none 18
 New York[50] 17 18 Since 2017, the minimum age is 17 with parental and judicial consent.
 North Carolina 14 18
  North Dakota[6] 16 18 16 with parental consent.[51]
 Ohio[52] 17 18 In 2019, the minimum age was set at 17, with judicial consent, in cases where the age difference is less than four years.[53]
 Oklahoma[6] none 18
 Oregon[6] 17 18 Consenting parent or guardian must accompany the applicant when applying for the marriage license.
 Pennsylvania[54] none 18 Under 16 years of age if a Judge of the Orphans Court "decides that it is to the best interest of the applicant and authorizes the issuance of the license."[55]
 South Carolina[6] 16/none (conflicting laws) 18 The age is 16, with parental consent, but there is controversy regarding the interpretation of the law, which some judges consider to allow marriage without an age limit in case of pregnancy.[56]
 South Dakota[6] 16 18
 Tennessee[57] 17 18 In 2018, the minimum age was set to 17 and no minor can marry someone more than 4 years older.[57][4]
 Texas[58] 16 18 Since 2017, the minimum age is 18, however emancipated minors aged 16–17 have an exemption to legally marry.[59][60][58]
 Utah[61] 16 18 The minimum marriage age was set at 16 in 2019.[62] 16 and 17yrs old need parental and judicial consent.[63]
 Vermont[6] 16 18
 Virginia 16 18 In 2016, VA made 18 the minimum age; and 16 with court approval in special cases[64][65]
 Washington[6] none 18 May be waived by superior court judge.[66]
 West Virginia[6] none 18 No minimum with both parental and judicial consent
 Wisconsin[6] 16 18
 Wyoming[6] none 18

District of Columbia and United States Territories[edit]

Name Minimum age Notes
Statutory age when all exceptions are taken into account[2] General age
 American Samoa[67] 18 18 In September 2018, governor Lolo Moliga signed into law a bill changing the marriage age for girls from 14 to 18. The marriage age is now 18 for both sexes. [67]
 District of Columbia[6] 16 18
 Guam[68] 16 18 The consent of at least one parent or guardian is required for a person aged 16 or 17 to get married.
 Northern Mariana Islands 16 (females) 18 (males) 18 Males at the time of marriage must be at least 18 years of age, while females aged 16-17 can marry with the consent of at least one parent or guardian.[69]
 Puerto Rico[6] 16 (females) 18 (males) 21
 U.S. Virgin Islands[70] 14 (females) 16 (males) 18

See also[edit]


  1. ^ in 2017, Connecticut and Texas became the 24th and 25th states to set a minimum age [1] [2], in 2018, Florida, Kentucky, Arizona, Delaware, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Missouri became the 26th through 32nd states to set a minimum age [3] [4][5][6][7][8][9], and in 2019 Ohio became the 33rd state[10], and Arkansas the 34th [11]
  2. ^ a b c "Understanding State Statutes on Minimum Marriage Age and Exceptions". Tahirih Justice Center. November 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  3. ^ "13,000 children a year are married in America".
  4. ^ a b "Gov. Bill Haslam signs law banning Tennessee marriage of minors under 17". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  5. ^ "Section 30-1-4: Minimum age for contracting marriage". Code of Alabama. Alabama Legislature. 1975. Retrieved 2017-06-03. A person under the age of 16 years is incapable of contracting marriage.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Marriage Laws of the Fifty States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico". Legal Information Institute. 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  7. ^ a b "Arizona HB2006 - 2018 - Fifty-third Legislature 2nd Regular".
  8. ^ a b Renick, Christie (April 13, 2018). "Arizona Sets Minimum Age for Marriage of Minors". Chronicle of Social Change. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  9. ^ [12]
  10. ^ [13]
  11. ^ "California Marriage Age Requirements Laws". Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  12. ^ "Senate Bill No. 273
    CHAPTER 660
    An act to amend Sections 297.1, 302, 303, 304, 423, 1501, 2210, and 7002 of, and to add Section 298.8 to, the Family Code, and to add Sections 102233 and 102356 to the Health and Safety Code, relating to marriage and domestic partnership"
    . California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
    line feed character in |title= at position 43 (help)
  13. ^ [14]
  14. ^ "Office of the Clerk and Recorder: Marriage & Recording / License Information / Marriage of Minors". City and County of Denver. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  15. ^ C.R.S. Colorado Revised Statutes 14-2-106
  16. ^ a b "Connecticut General Assembly". Connecticut General Assembly.
  17. ^ Thomsen, Jacqueline (10 May 2018). "Delaware becomes first state to ban child marriage".
  18. ^ Legislature, Delaware. "Bill Detail - Delaware General Assembly".
  19. ^ "Delaware Expected To Be The First State To Ban Child Marriage Outright".
  20. ^ "Senate Bill 140 (2018) - The Florida Senate".
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-24. Retrieved 2018-03-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^
  23. ^ [15]
  24. ^ [16]
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Idaho Statutes 32-202 DOMESTIC LAWS". Idaho Legislature. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  27. ^ a b Idaho Marriage Age Requirements Laws, Findlaw, 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  28. ^ "IC 31-11-1: ARTICLE 11. FAMILY LAW: MARRIAGE". Indiana Code 2016. Indiana General Assembly. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  29. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-24. Retrieved 2018-03-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Nonage minors; authorization of marriage", General Laws: Chapter 207, Section 25, Massachusetts General Court, retrieved 2017-06-03
  31. ^ Richards, Victoria (2016-03-09). "Child marriage chart reveals girls can wed at 12 in some parts of the US - as lawmakers battle to raise age to 16". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  32. ^ Hayden, Meg (2007-01-08). "Child Brides". Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Title 93 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS, Chapter 1 - MARRIAGE § 93-1-5 - Conditions precedent to issuance of license; penalty for noncompliance". 2013 Mississippi Code. Retrieved 2017-06-03. Every male who is at least seventeen (17) years old and every female who is at least fifteen (15) years old shall be capable in law of contracting marriage.
  36. ^ a b "Missouri SB655 - 2018 - Regular Session".
  37. ^ a b Suntrup, Jack. "Missouri is known as a haven for child marriages. A new law aims to change that".
  38. ^ "Missouri governor signs law banning marriage of 15-year-olds".
  39. ^ "Missouri bill would toughen child marriage law". 18 May 2018.
  40. ^ "Lawmakers vote to ban marriage at 15 after Star's series on lenient Missouri law".
  41. ^ [17]
  42. ^ [18]
  43. ^ [19]
  44. ^ [20]
  45. ^ "TITLE XLIII: DOMESTIC RELATIONS, CHAPTER 457: MARRIAGES, Age: Section 457:4". New Hampshire General Court. Archived from the original on 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  46. ^ "It's official: The marriage age is raised in NH - New Hampshire".
  47. ^ "Bill_Status".
  48. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-05-05. Retrieved 2018-05-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  49. ^ a b Malo, Sebastien. "New Jersey law gives momentum to U.S. efforts to ban child marriage".
  50. ^ "Human Rights Watch: NY State Marriage Laws Update 2016/2017". Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch. June 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  51. ^ "Data" (PDF).
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ "TITLE 23, CHAPTER 13: MARRIAGE LICENSE, Section 1304(b) Minors". Pennsylvania General Assembly. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  55. ^ "Title 23: CHAPTER 13, MARRIAGE LICENSE". Pennsylvania General Assembly. Retrieved 2017-06-03. |
  56. ^ "Fortune Homepage".
  57. ^ a b "Tennessee HB2134 - 2017-2018 - 110th General Assembly".
  58. ^ a b "Texas Legislature Online - 85(R) History for SB 1705".
  59. ^ [21][dead link]
  60. ^ "Texas Just Made It Illegal For Anyone Under 18 To Get Married".
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (2016-07-03). "Why 13-year-olds can no longer marry in Virginia". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  65. ^ Tsui, Anjali (2016-07-08). "America's child marriage crisis: Virginia law tackles continuing issue". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  66. ^ "RCW 26.04.010 Marriage contract — Void marriages". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. 2016-12-23. Retrieved 2017-06-03. Every marriage entered into in which either person has not attained the age of seventeen years is void except where this section has been waived by a superior court judge of the county in which one of the parties resides on a showing of necessity.
  67. ^ a b "Governor Moliga signs into law bill to increase marriage age for girls". 12 September 2018.
  68. ^ "Laws" (PDF).
  69. ^ "Marriage application" (PDF). 2015.
  70. ^ "Virgin Islands Code 16 V.I.C. ch. 1 § 2". Virgin Islands Code. LexisNexis. Retrieved September 17, 2018.