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Marriageable age (or marriage age) is the age at which a person is allowed to marry, either as of right or subject to parental or other forms of consent. The age and other requirements vary between countries. The marriage age should not be confused with the age of majority or the age of consent. The marriage age in a country may be below the age of majority and the age of consent that applies in that country. Additionally, the age at which a person is legally permitted to engage in sexual activity may be below the marriage age.

Contents

By country

The following is an incomplete list of marriageable ages in various countries. The list is current, and does not treat the topic in history.

Africa

  • Algeria: 21 for males and 18 for females, lower with judicial permission if necessity or benefit is established.[1]
  • Egypt: 18 for males and females (per the new child protection law).
  • Ethiopia: Legally 18 for both males and females. In practice, however, children in rural areas are married young. It is not uncommon to see girls as young as 6 years of age being married.[citation needed] It is also unusual for a girl to be 16 and yet unmarried.
  • Kenya: 16 for statutory marriages under the Marriage Act.[2]
  • Libya: 20, lower with judicial permission on grounds of benefit or necessity and with wali's agreement.[3]
  • Madagascar: 17 for males, 14 for females.[4]
  • Morocco: 18 (since the legal reform of 2004).[5]
  • Senegal: 20.
  • Somalia: 18; 16 for females with guardian's consent. Court may grant exemption from minimum age requirements in case of necessity.[6]
  • South Africa: 18.[7] There are provisions made for respecting the marriage laws of traditional marriages, whereby a person might be married as young as 12 for females and 14 for males.
  • Sudan: Puberty, with requirement for willing consent of both parties.[8]
  • Tanzania: 18 for males and 15 for females, 14 with court permission if specific circumstances make marriage appear desirable. Penal Code provides that persons of "African or Asiatic descent" may marry or permit marriage of a girl under 12 in accordance with their custom or religion if marriage is not intended to be consummated before she is 12.[9]
  • Tunisia: 20 for males and 17 for females, lower with judicial special permission for pressing reasons and on the basis of a clear interest for both spouses.[10]
  • Zimbabwe:The Marriages Act [Chapter 5:11]Under this legislation, a man may marry at the minimum age of 18 while a woman may marry at the minimum age of 16.[11]

Asia

The sign painted on a building in a village in Hubei, China, informs of the marriageable age in the country (22 for men, 20 for women)
  • Afghanistan: 18 for males and 16 for females, more than half of marriages involve females under 16.[12]
  • Azerbaijan: 18 for males, 17 for females. 17 or 16 correspondingly in special cases.[13]
  • Bangladesh: 21 for males and 18 for females, lunar calendar; penal sanctions for contracting under-age marriages, though such unions are not considered invalid.[14]
  • Brunei: No minimum marriage age specified.[15]
  • China, People's Republic of: 22 for males, 20 for females.[16]
  • China, Republic of (on Taiwan): 20 as the age of majority[17] generally. 18 for males, 16 for females with parental consent.[18]
  • Hong Kong: 21, 16 with parental consent.[19]
  • India: 21 for males and 18 for females[20]. If any partner(s) engages in marriage at a younger age, (s)he can ask for the marriage to be declared void / annulled. A recent recommendation by the Law Commission aims to equalize the marriage age for males and females to 18[21], automatically declares marriages under 16 as "null and void", while marriages at the age of 16 or 17 are "voidable"[21]
  • Indonesia: 21, 19 for males and 16 for females with parental consent. (Indonesia's Civil Law)
  • Iran: 18 for male, 16 for female
  • Iraq: 18, 15 with judicial permission if fitness, physical capacity and guardian's consent (or unreasonable objection on part of guardian) are established. (May or may not have been revised after Saddam Hussein's fall.)[22]
  • Israel: 18 for males and 17 for females.
  • Palestinian National Authority: 18, 18 with court consent[citation needed]
  • Japan: 20, 18 for males and 16 for females with parental consent.[23]
  • Jordan: 16 for males and 15 for females, lunar calendar; court permission required for females under 18 to marry men older by 20 years or more.[24]
  • Kazakhstan: 18, in special cases 16 years with parental consent.[25]
  • Kuwait: No minimum marriage age identified; capacity to marry requires parties to be of age (puberty) and of sound mind, however, no notarisation or registration of marriage permitted where female has not reached 15 years or male 17 years.[26]
  • Kyrgyzstan: 18[27]
  • Lebanon: 18 for males and 17 for females; scope for judicial discretion on basis of physical maturity and wali's permission from 17 for males and 9 for females; real puberty or 15/9 with judicial permission for Shi'a; 18/17 or 16/15 with judicial permission for Druze.[28]
  • Malaysia: 21, 18 with parental consent, 16 for females with special marriage license.[29]
  • Maldives: According to custom, the minimum age for marriage is 15; the Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child discourages marriage before the age of 16[30]
  • Pakistan: 18 for males, 16 for females[31].
  • Mongolia : 18 age for both male and female without parental consent.
  • Philippines: 18 for both male and female in general population. If any spouse is 18–20 years and the consent of "parental" authority is not met, marriage may be prevented or annulled by any party that demands it.[32] On the other hand, Muslim marriages in the Philippines is based on the Shari'a: 15 yrs for males and as for females, the onset of puberty to age 15, whichever comes first. *Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines Additionally, for indigenous Philippine tribes, the age is set according to the respective tribe's laws.
  • Saudi Arabia: None currently, legislation for age 18 is being considered.[33]
  • Singapore: 21, 18 with parental consent, below 18 with special marriage license.
  • South Korea: 20, 18 with parental consent.
  • Sri Lanka: The legal age for marriage in Sri Lanka is 18, for both males and females. However, Muslims can be excluded from this regulation because the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act of 1951 states that a girl must be 12 years of age or have a Quazi's permission to marry before contracting into marriage. This is applicable only for Muslims in Sri Lanka.[34]
  • Syria: 18 for males and 17 for females; judicial discretion for males of 15 and females of 13; judge may withhold permission for marriage if court finds incompatibility in age between betrothed parties.[35]
  • Thailand: 20, 17 with parental consent, 15 in special circumstances with court approval.
  • Uzbekistan 18 for males, 17 for females. 17 and 16 correspondingly in special conditions.[36]
  • Vietnam: 20 for males, 18 for females.
  • Yemen: No minimum age specified [37]

Europe

  • Albania: 18
  • Armenia: 18 for males and 17 for females.[38]
  • Austria: 18, 16 with court consent (partner must be 18 or older).
  • Belgium: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Bulgaria: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Croatia: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Cyprus: 18, 16 with parental and ecclesial consent. Under no circumstances is it permitted for the man to marry a woman who is over 12 years his junior or 6 years his senior.
  • Czech republic: 18, 16 with court consent.
  • Denmark: 18, 16 with special letter of approval from the Queen and parental consent.
  • Estonia: 18, 15 with parental or court consent.
  • Finland: 18, under 18 with the consent of the ministry of justice in extraordinary circumstances, in which case parents or other guardian must be heard, but actual parental consent is not required.
  • France: 18
  • Germany: 18, 16 with court consent (partner must be 18 or older).
  • Greece: 18, 16 with consent from both parents and court permission.
  • Hungary: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Iceland: 18, the Ministry of Justice may permit the marriage of younger persons.
  • Ireland: 18, 16 with parental consent, below 16 with both parental and High Court consent.
  • Italy: 18, 16 with court consent.
  • Latvia: 18, 16 with court and/or parental permission.
  • Lithuania: 18, 16 with court permission.
  • Netherlands: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Norway: 18, 16 with consent from parents (guardian) and permission from the County Governor. The County Governor may only give permission when there are 'special reasons for contracting a marriage'.[39][40]
  • Poland: 18, 16 with court permission (females only).
  • Portugal: 18, 16 with parental consent (if not possible, the court can provide the consent).
  • Romania: 18 for males, 18 for females, 16 with permission from the district's administrative board.[41]
  • Russia: 18, 16 in special circumstances; may vary in different regions.
  • Serbia: 18. 16 with court consent.
  • Slovakia: 18, 16 with court consent.
  • Slovenia: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Spain: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Sweden: 18, younger with permission from the county administrative board. The county administrative board may only give permission when there are 'special reasons' but although the custodians of the underage should be heard if possible, the consent of the custodians is not required.
  • Switzerland: 18
  • Turkey: 18, 17 with parental consent, 16 in special circumstances with court approval.

North America

  • Canada: Varies by province, but generally 18 years old, 16 years with parental consent, 14 years with judicial consent.
  • Mexico: 18, 16 with parental or legal consent, 14 for pregnant females with legal consent.
  • Puerto Rico: 21, 18 with parental consent.
  • United States: Usually 17. Most states, however, allow marriage at a younger age with parental and/or judicial consent. Some states allow marriage at a still younger age if the female is pregnant. There are a few states (Nebraska, 19; Mississippi, 21) that have a higher age.
    • Alabama: 18, 16 with parental consent. (statute).
    • Alaska: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Arizona: no statutory minimum, under 18 with parental consent, under 16 with approval of a superior court judge and parental consent. (statute)
    • Arkansas: 18, 16 for females and 17 for males with parental consent.[43]
    • California: no statutory minimum, those under 18 must receive approval of a superior court judge, or parental consent.
    • Colorado: 18, 16 with parental consent, no minimum with judicial approval.[43][44]
    • Connecticut: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • District of Columbia: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Delaware: 18, 16 for females with parental consent, 17 for males with parental consent.[43]
    • Florida: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Georgia: 18, 15 with parental consent, 16 without parental consent if pregnant.[43]
    • Hawaii: 18, 15 with parental consent.[43]
    • Idaho: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Illinois: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Indiana: 18, 17 with parental consent, 15 in the case of pregnancy with both parental and judicial consent.[45]
    • Iowa: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Kansas: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Kentucky: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Louisiana: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Maine: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Massachusetts: 18 for first marriage, 16 with parental and judicial consent [46].
    • Maryland: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Michigan: 18, 16 with parental consent, 15 and under with parental consent and probate judge approval.
    • Minnesota: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Mississippi: 21, 17 for males, 15 for females, with parental consent. (statute)
    • Missouri: 18, 15 with parental consent.[43]
    • Montana: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Nebraska: 19, 17 with parental consent.[43]
    • Nevada: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • New Hampshire: 18, 14 for males and 13 for females, in cases of "special cause" with parental consent and court permission.
    • New Jersey: 18, 16 with parental consent and in the case of pregnancy.
    • New Mexico: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • New York: 18, 16 with parental consent, 14 with parental and judicial consent.[47].
    • North Carolina: 18, 16 with parental consent, unlimited in case of pregnancy or birth of child with parental consent.
    • North Dakota: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Ohio: 18 for males, 16 for females, less with parental consent.
    • Oklahoma: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Oregon: 18, 17 with parental consent. The consenting parent or guardian must accompany the applicant when applying for the marriage license.
    • Pennsylvania: 18, 16 with parental consent, 14 in case of pregnancy and with the approval of a Judge of the Orphans Court.
    • Rhode Island: 18, 16 for females with parental consent.[43]
    • South Carolina: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • South Dakota: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Tennessee: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Texas: 18, 16 with parental consent. 14 with judicial consent or if person under 18 had previously married and divorced.
    • Utah: 18, 16 with parental consent, 15 with court approval.[48]
    • Vermont: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Virginia: 18, 16 with parental consent.[49]
    • Washington: 18, 17 with parental consent.[43] May be waived by superior court judge.(statute)
    • West Virginia: 18, 16 with parental consent, under 16 (unspecified limit) with parental and judicial consent[43][50]
    • Wisconsin: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]
    • Wyoming: 18, 16 with parental consent.[43]

Oceania

  • Australia: 18, 16 with permission from a court and both parents (only granted in exceptional circumstances).[51]
  • New Zealand: 18, 16 with parental consent.[52]

South America

  • Argentina: 18 for both genders without parental consent. Lower with judicial consent only in exceptional cases.[53]
  • Brazil: 18, 16 with consent of both parents, or of the legal tutor, if the minor is under the guardianship of a tutor; if one of the parents has been judicially removed from the discharge of parental authority, only the consent of the other parent is required; if both parents, married or not, are invested with parental authority (as is normally the case), and they disagree over the granting of consent, then any of them may petition a court to decide the matter. The minor can also petition a court to overrule the parents decision to deny consent, but the minor must prove that the refusal of consent is unreasonable. In exceptional circumnstances, the marriage of someone who is under 16 years can also be authorized, but only by a court, and only in cases of pregnancy, or to avoid the imposition of a criminal penalty (e.g. a case in which a couple of teenages over the age of 14 have consensual sex, and the parents, usually of the female, initiate proceedings to have the male prosecuted for the crime of corruption of minors. In Brazil if someone engages in sex with a minor below the age of 14 years, then there is an absolute legal presumption of violence - statutory rape - but if someone engages in consensual sex with a minor between 14 and 18 years, there is a lesser crime - corruption of minors. Someone who is prosecuted for that lesser crime can avoid the penalty if the young couple agree to marry. Often, mainly in rural parts of the country, that marriage will provide enough satisfaction for the parents of the girl and for the local society. Then, for cultural reasons, civil law still allows for that scenario in which one avoids prosecution by agreeing to marry). There is no age limit for the exceptional scenario of a court authorizing a girl who is pregnant to marry.
  • Chile: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Colombia: 18, 14 with parental consent.
  • Paraguay: 14 for females and 16 for males. Article 39, clause "b", of the Paraguayan Civil Code reads: “The legal incapacity of minors will cease: ...(b) for gentlemen of 16 and for women of 14 years completed, through marriage, with the limitations established in this Code”.
  • Peru: 18.
  • Venezuela: 18, 14 for females and 16 for males with parental consent.
  • Ecuador: 18 for males and 18 for females

See also

References

  1. ^ Legal Profiles: Algeria
  2. ^ Legal Profiles: Kenya
  3. ^ Legal Profiles: Libya
  4. ^ MG: Droit francophone
  5. ^ ~ NEW FAMILY CODE, ROSY FUTURE FOR MOROCCAN WOMEN ~ - Morocco.com Discussion Forum
  6. ^ Legal Profiles: Somalia
  7. ^ Civil Union Act (Act 17 of 2006)
  8. ^ Legal Profiles: Sudan
  9. ^ Legal Profiles: Tanzania
  10. ^ Legal Profiles: Tunisia
  11. ^ Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
  12. ^ IRIN Asia | Asia | Afghanistan | AFGHANISTAN: Child marriage still widespread | Other | Breaking News
  13. ^ http://www.demaz.org/cgi-bin/e-cms/vis/vis.pl?s=001&p=0068&n=000024&g= Family Law of Azerbaijan, Asset 10.1, 10.2
  14. ^ Legal Profiles: Bangladesh
  15. ^ Legal Profiles: Brunei
  16. ^ www.interpol.com
  17. ^ Civil Code Part I General Principles Article 12.
  18. ^ Civil Code Part IV Family Articles 980 and 981.
  19. ^ http://www.legislation.gov.hk/eng/home.htm
  20. ^ http://india.gov.in/howdo/howdoi.php?service=3
  21. ^ a b [1] see Chapter VI, Conclusions and Recommendations
  22. ^ Legal Profiles: Kuwait last accessed 25 March 2007
  23. ^ http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-7114a.html
  24. ^ Legal Profiles: Jordan last accessed 25 March 2007
  25. ^ http://www.pavlodar.com/zakon/?dok=00149&uro=08010 Kazakh Family Law, asset 10
  26. ^ Legal Profiles: Iraq last accessed 25 March 2007
  27. ^ Kyrgyzstan Independence Information-[family.jrank.org/pages/1030/Kyrgyzstan-Independence.html]
  28. ^ Profiles: Lebanon last accessed 25 March 2007
  29. ^ Malaysia Family Law
  30. ^ Legal Profiles: Maldives last accessed 25 March 2007
  31. ^ Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929
  32. ^ "Family Code of the Philippines". Gov.ph. http://www.chanrobles.com/executiveorderno209.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  33. ^ http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout&cid=1239888191276
  34. ^ Legal Profiles: Sri Lanka last accessed 25 March 2007
  35. ^ Legal Profiles: Syria last accessed 25 March 2007
  36. ^ [2] Uzbekistan Family Law, asset 15
  37. ^ Human rights in Yemen#Freedom of religion
  38. ^ [3] Family Law of Armenia, Asset 10
  39. ^ "LOV 1991-07-04 nr 47: Lov om ekteskap". Lovdata.no. http://www.lovdata.no/all/hl-19910704-047.html#1. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  40. ^ "The Marriage Act" (PDF). http://www.ub.uio.no/ujur/ulovdata/lov-19910704-047-eng.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  41. ^ "Codul familiei - Incheierea casatoriei". E-juridic.ro. http://www.e-juridic.ro/index.php?pag=a&id=130&s=Codul%20familiei&aid=1047. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  42. ^ Family Planning Association
  43. ^ 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 ac ad ae af ag ah "Marriage Laws of the Fifty States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico". Cornell University Law School. http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/Table_Marriage.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  44. ^ "Marriage Requirements and Applications". Denver, CO. http://www.denvergov.org/MarriageRequirements/tabid/382441/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  45. ^ "IC 31-11-1: ARTICLE 11. FAMILY LAW: MARRIAGE". Indiana State Legislature. http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title31/ar11/ch1.html. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  46. ^ GLAD: How to Get Married Last accessed September 2, 2006
  47. ^ Getting Married in New York State Last accessed January 3, 2009
  48. ^ [4]
  49. ^ Virginia marriage requirements
  50. ^ WV Code Chapter 48
  51. ^ Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 s.10-21
  52. ^ The Department of Internal Affairs: Births Deaths and Marriages - How to Get a Marriage Licence
  53. ^ See Articles 166, 167 and 168 - Marriage Section of the Argentine Civil Code

External links

  • Minimum Legal Age to Marry Men and Women (Interactive map of the world)







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