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Home > Must Be 18 or Older to Wed

Must Be 18 or Older to Wed

By: Adesewa Egunsola, Esquire

On May 6, 2020, the Pennsylvania Senate signed and presented to Governor Wolf a bill which seeks to raise the minimum age to receive a marriage license to 18 years of age, with no exceptions.

Currently in Pennsylvania, as is the case in many other states, individuals under the age of 18 may obtain a marriage license if either the court decides it is in the best interest of the applicant, the consent of a parent or guardian with custody of the child is personally given before the person issuing the license, or if consent is certified in writing with the signature of two adult witnesses and is acknowledged before an officer authorized by law to make acknowledgements.

A correlation has been established between early marriages and an increased defenselessness to domestic violence, as well as negative effects to health and education. It is the hope of the legislature that this bill will protect children (some as young as 12, according to marriage license data) from being coerced into early marriages and exploited in this manner.

The Pennsylvania legislature is hoping by raising the minimum age for receiving a marriage license and eliminating exceptions to this rule, it will address

Now that the General Assembly has approved the bill and sent it to the Governor, the Governor may either sign the bill making it law, veto the bill, or he can take no action for ten days while the General Assembly is in session allowing it to become law as well. If the Governor does veto the bill, the General Assembly will still have the option of overriding the veto.