In most states there is an age limit for marriage. For example, in Ohio a male must be 18 years of age and a female must be at least 16 years of age. In many states a minor party must obtain the consent of their parent or guardian before marriage.
In many states the age of consent for marriage is 18 years of age. Parties under the age of 18 can marry only if they prove that they have the consent of their parents or legal guardian. For example, the State of West Virginia provides:
48-2-301. Age of consent for marriage; exception:
(a) The age of consent for marriage for both the male and the female is eighteen years of age. A person under the age of eighteen lacks the capacity to contract a marriage without the consent required by this section.
(b) The clerk of the county commission may issue a marriage license to an applicant who is under the age of eighteen but sixteen years of age or older if the clerk obtains a valid written consent from the applicant’s parents or legal guardian.
(c) Upon order of a circuit judge, the clerk of the county commission may issue a marriage license to an applicant who is under the age of sixteen, if the clerk obtains a valid written consent from the applicant’s parents or legal guardian. A circuit judge of the county in which the application for a marriage license is filed may order the clerk of the county commission to issue a license to an applicant under the age of sixteen if, in the court’s discretion, the issuance of a license is in the best interest of the applicant and if consent is given by the parents or guardian.
Alaska’s law is similar but limits marriage to those who are 14 years of age or older. And those under the age of 16 have to prove consent after a court hearing.
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