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Can Minors Validly Contract Marriages in Charlotte, NC?

Minors are not usually expected to know what’s best for them. Age is essential for several legal rights, obligations, and privileges. All US states specify when their residents can become eligible for all of the above. For example, you cannot vote until you reach the age of majority. Similarly, age is relevant to marriages in Charlotte, North Carolina. A Charlotte family law lawyer can explain this relevance to you.

Therefore, suppose you have any questions on when an individual can validly contract a marriage in Charlotte. Then, it’ll be best to hire a lawyer. Generally, North Carolina’s law, like other states, provides that marriageable parties must be adults. So, if you want to know the exceptions to this rule, speaking to a family attorney is the best.

What Is the Marriageable Age in Charlotte, NC?

Only persons who have attained majority can contract marriages in North Carolina. This means that the intending couples must be 18 years and above. Both parties don’t need their parents’ consent to marry at this age. Furthermore, they can marry anyone of the opposite sex, except close blood relatives.

Importance of Age Requirements in Marriage Contracts

Age requirements for marriage are crucial in every society. Laws primarily aim to protect the weak and vulnerable in society. This is also the purpose of the statutes preventing children from getting married in North Carolina. Additionally, marriage is a significant responsibility that requires serious commitment.

Therefore, the law wants to ensure that the intending couples are mature enough to commit. In addition, the age requirement prevents minors from being forced into marriages. This section of family law also protects kids from the violence, exploitation, and abuse they may experience in marriage. Finally, the law protects them from the dangers of child pregnancies.

Can Minors Validly Contract Marriages in North Carolina?

Yes, children under 18 can validly marry in Charlotte, NC. However, this exception is subject to strict conditions. Firstly, persons over 16 years and under 18 years can lawfully marry in Charlotte. However, they can only marry someone not more than four years older than them.

For instance, a 16-year-old girl cannot marry any man above 20. Furthermore, they can only get a marriage license after filing written consent to the marriage. This consent must have been signed by the appropriate party, which could be:

  • A parent having full or joint custody of the underage party, or
  • A person, agency, or institution having legal custody or serving as the underaged party’s guardian.

The Pregnancy or Childbirth Exception

Minors below 16 years can still contract a valid marriage in Charlotte, NC. This is usually the case where the girl is pregnant or has delivered a child. In addition, the putative father of the child, born or unborn, and the child’s mother must agree to marry. Notably, though, the minimum age for this exception is 14 years.

Furthermore, a district court must authorize this marriage before the couple can obtain a marriage license. The judge can only issue this license when they believe it’s in the child’s best interest. In addition, the court must determine that the underage party is capable of undertaking marital responsibilities. Finally, it’s generally unlawful for minors below 14 years to contract marriages in Charlotte, NC.

Child Emancipation and Marital Capacity

A juvenile of 16 years and above can petition a county court for a decree of emancipation. Such juveniles must have resided in the same county or on federal territory within North Carolina for at least six months preceding their application. Notably, an emancipated minor doesn’t need marital consent to marry.

Effect of a Decree of Emancipation

A decree of emancipation effectively converts the minor into a legal adult. So, they have the right to:

  • Make conveyances and contracts, including marriage contracts as if they’re adults
  • Sue and be sued
  • Transact business like adults

Furthermore, an emancipation decree releases the parents, guardians, or custodians of all legal duties and obligations towards the child. Finally, the order is irrevocable.

Charlotte Family Law Lawyers Can Answer Your Questions

Are you below 18 years and desire to marry? Or do you have a minor who’s thinking about contracting a marriage? If you fall into any of these classes, it’ll be best to speak to the best Charlotte family lawyers. At Waple & Houk, PLLC, our attorneys can examine the circumstances of the case.

Then, they can determine whether the relevant underage party is eligible to marry in Charlotte, NC. Our lawyers have significant experience in all branches of family law. So, with our expertise, we can advise and guide you on how to contract a valid marriage. Therefore, it’ll be best to call us today for a FREE consultation.