Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Minors Getting Married

Should those under the age of 18 be allowed to marry?

These days it might seem as if all our teens are worried about is the latest fashion trend or what is going around on social media. So, you would probably be surprised to find out that tens of thousands of minors enter into marriages every year in the United States, many of them at ages 14 and 15. Is this good for our teenagers? What kinds of adverse effects does underage marriage have on young people?  Should they be allowed to marry?

While underage marriage is more popular in developing countries, it occurs in the U.S. at a staggering rate. No one race, religion or socioeconomic group is affected more than another and some of the marriages are arranged while others aren’t. Many times, teens enter into marriage against their parents' better judgment. Some enter into marriage due to religious beliefs, others to deal with pregnancy and still others to obtain healthcare and other benefits. Some also marry as a result of parental coercion or as a means of escaping a contentious or abusive home environment.

In most states, the minimum age to marry is 18. But, couples can get around the age requirement by getting permission from parents or presenting evidence that they are pregnant. In New York, only parental consent is required. Many believe that underage marriages are especially bad for the young women involved. Statistics seem to show that marrying under the age of 18 leads to increased health problems, domestic violence and divorce.

Some states are trying to change the way in which teens are permitted to marry. For example, the State of Virginia has recently passed a law making it a requirement that a judge decide whether the parties are mature enough to enter into the marriage. New York and New Jersey might also be facing changes in the law as some are calling for a total ban on marriages involving parties under the age of 18. Of course, there are two sides to every coin, and some think that these laws are a violation of parental rights. Many do not agree that all underage marriages are bad and should be banned. Nevertheless, they cannot deny that underage marriages face the highest rate of divorce.

If you were married underage and have decided to pursue a divorce, or are considering dissolution of marriage for any other reason, you need to speak to an experienced Garden City, New York divorce attorney today.

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