Most people get married when they are adults and are more financially stable. However, there are some people who get married at a younger age, like when they are in college or in their mid-twenties. There are even people who choose to get married when they are in high school, or younger! As shocking as it can be to imagine yourself being married at such a young age, it is not illegal in California.
Most states have a minimum age requirement to get hitched, but California does not. Anyone in California can get married at any age, although anyone under the age of 18 would need to:
- Get parental consent
- Get a court order
- See a pre-marriage counselor
- Have copies of their birth certificate
- Apply for a marriage license with a parent present
- Appear before a judge
One of the main reasons California chose not to enforce a minimum age to get married is because it allows pregnant minors to marry, if they so wish. Needing parental and court consent helps regulate the idea of marriage so that no one is being forced or tricked into an unhealthy and abusive marriage. For example, a man cannot force the teen he got pregnant into marriage unless her parents and the court give their consent. If he is also under 18, he would need parental consent as well. Furthermore, a mother cannot force her pregnant teenage daughter to marry the father of the baby if the girl’s father does not consent. There are multiple points of protections in this manner. However, if all parties are happy with their relationships with each other and it is a healthy relationship between the two minors, they can get married as long as their parents and the court give them permission.
Any man or woman who is at least 18 years of age would not need parental consent to get married.