Dear Clients and Friends,
California Family Code Sections 300-303 make California one of a handful of states without an official minimum age for marriage. This privilege does not come without control factors for these young persons (under the age of 18) which are that they must obtain consents from both of their parents along with a court order before they may legally marry. Minors marrying have been, and are, exceptions to the norm and these laws exist primarily to allow pregnant minors to marry.
In addition to obtaining parental consent in order to get married, anyone who is under 18 must also see a pre-marriage counselor, appear before a judge, produce copies of their birth certificates, and even have a parent accompany them when they apply for a marriage license. Requirements for parental consent (and the presence of a parent when obtaining a license) may be waived if the parent has abandoned the family, is out of the country, or no longer living.
Note however, that even in states where there are statutory limits on how old individuals must be to get married (with parental consent), exceptions are made in certain situations – including pregnancy or the presence of a child. Therefore, California is not too much different than other states when you consider how these laws are enforced.
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