What is the marriage age without a parent’s consent?

The minimum marriage age without a parent's consent is eighteen in almost all states in the U.S. In all but five states, couples can marry at a younger age, with parental consent or judicial authorization, with the minimum marriage age ranging from 15 to 17. If you are considering marriage and are not sure if you are eligible based on the rules about legal marriage age by state, you should contact a family law attorney for help. Use the free tool below for more information.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 23, 2022

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What’s the legal age to get married? The rules for how old you have to be to get married without a parent’s consent for marriage varies from state to state.

Read on to find out the minimum age you have to be to get married without a guardian’s consent and what state has the youngest age to get married. If you need to contact a family attorney, just enter your ZIP code below.

What are the requirements to get married without parental consent?

If you want to get married without a parent’s permission, the legal requirements for marriage are that you need to be at least 18 years old, which is the age of consent in 48 of the 50 states in the United States. The two remaining states are Nebraska, where the marriage age is 19, and Mississippi, where the marriage age is 21. The age at marriage is lower depending on the state with parental or judicial permission.

Your state clerks or family attorneys can tell you what the laws in your state dictate. Typically, you have to go to the courthouse and submit paperwork to prove that you are of age, not related, and more before the state will issue marriage certificates. Some couples involve an attorney to draw up prenuptial agreements and other legal documents as well.

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What Are the Minimum Marriage Ages In the United States?

If you do not meet these age requirements, you may be able to get a marriage license with the permission of a parent or legal guardian.

Can a 16-year-old get a marriage license without parental consent?

Parties in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas can get married earlier with parental permission. In Texas, minors have to be at least 14 with the permission of parents or legal guardians to enter into a domestic partnership. In Kentucky, a judicial approval request may also be needed. This is partially to prevent child marriage and abuse even when parents are on board.

In Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, teens may get married with parental consent at age 16 or older.

In Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming, you may get married if you are under the age of 16 only if you have both parental approval and judicial consent.

In Hawaii, parties may get married at the age of 15 with parental consent and/or the consent of a judge. Parental consent is needed in Alabama and Utah at age 14. In Nebraska and Oregon, the legal age is 17.

As is the case in Texas, marriage ages for males and females differ in some states. In New Hampshire, the ages at which you may get married with parental consent are 14 for males and 13 for females. In Kansas and Massachusetts, the age for civil marriage with consent is 14 for males and 12 for females (the youngest marriage age in the U.S.).

Parties may marry with parental consent for marriage by reason of pregnancy or the birth of a child even if they are underage in Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia.

Marriage license applications act as a guide for many would-be married couples. If you have any questions, it’s important to speak to an expert about your individual situation. As a teenager considering marriage, there’s more to the process than age and the proper permissions. In the U.S., all but one state requires that a couple be 18 in order to get married without parental consent. However, a few states will relinquish this rule if there is proof of pregnancy or birth of a baby; and teenage marriage may have to ask a judge for permission before being granted a marriage license.

Civil marriage laws are rife with complications, specifically to protect children. Prior to marriage, statutory rape laws are still applicable. Depending on the state, a minor may not be able to marry a person beyond a certain age limit. This applies to same-sex marriage as well.

Depending on the state and circumstances, some marriages may be monitored more carefully. The marriage application may lay this out, but be sure to ask questions as they come up. States want to avoid issues with marriage without consent and other forms of exploitation and human rights violations. Some states may even employ a 30-day waiting period.

Of course, the protections and benefits of marriage involving an underage party may not apply when child brides are involved, and the legal process is not followed. Some may even regard it as a human rights issue.

If you are considering marriage and are not certain if you and your future spouse are eligible based on the rules about the legal marriage age of consent by state, you should consider contacting a family law attorney for help with your situation. A lawyer can also help you if you need to petition the court for judicial permission for a valid marriage before your 18th birthday.


  1. https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/marriage-age-by-state
  2. https://www.equalitynow.org/learn_more_child_marriage_us
  3. https://www.findlaw.com/family/marriage/state-by-state-marriage-age-of-consent-laws.html

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