Virginia Ups Minimum Age to Tie the Knot

Engraved-wedding-bands-funny-phrasesA new law took effect in Virginia on July 1st, 2016 which requires that both parties must be at least 18 years of age in order to get married. It does allow individuals who are 16 and 17 years of age to petition the juvenile and domestic relations court for emancipation based on the desire to be married. However, before granting permission, the court must find that: (1) it is the minor’s own will to get married, (2) both parties are mature enough to decide to get married, (3) the minor’s safety will not be endangered by the marriage, and  (4) it is in the best interest of the minor to be emancipated.

Under previous marriage law in Virginia, there was no requirement that a judge be involved. Clerks could issue marriage licenses to children as young as 12 and 13 as long as they were pregnant and had parental consent. Under the new marriage law, a judge is added into the equation and pregnancy and parental consent are taken out. Any marriages entered into in violation of this new law are voidable. Also, laws similar to this one have already been introduced in California, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

Should you have any questions regarding the legality of a marriage or other related domestic relations questions, please call the lawyers at Winslow & McCurry, PLLC at (804) 423-1382.