Every state regulates marriage and who can marry. One of the requirements of getting a marriage license -- and, after the wedding, the marriage certificate -- is to be at least a certain age specified by the state. The reasoning behind this requirement is that a marriage is essentially a contract, so you should be old enough to enter into a contract when you enter into a marriage.
In Colorado, the age at which a person can be held accountable when they enter into contracts is 18. The age at which a person can marry without parental or judicial intervention is also 18. For more specifics on getting married before the age of 18, see the table below. Once married, a child is automatically legally emancipated and treated as an adult.
The following table details the Colorado marriage age requirement laws.
|Code Sections||Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-2-106: License to Marry and 14-2-108: Judicial Approval for a License to Marry|
|Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent||Both girls and boys ages 16 and 17 can marry with the consent of both parents or guardians. If the child’s parents don’t live together, having the approval of just the parent with legal custody or the decision-making responsibility for the child is enough.
In addition, a child under 16 years old can marry if both parents or the parent with legal decision-making responsibility approve with judicial approval, as long as the marriage isn’t prohibited, for example for being with too close a relative (sibling, uncle, etc.) or a bigamous marriage.
|Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent||For both men and women, the minimum legal age of marriage is 18, if your parents or guardians don’t consent.
However, the law provides a judicial bypass to still get married as a child under 18. A 16 or 17 year old without a parent or guardian, no parent capable of consenting to the marriage (for example, due to serious mental illness), or whose parents or guardians don’t consent can ask the court for a marriage license.
Also, a child under 16 who has the consent of both parents or the parent who has legal custody, if he or she lives with only one parent, can request the court approve the marriage.
The court has to consider the best interests of the child (the same standard used for child custody cases). The judge can only grant a marriage license if the underage person is capable of assuming the responsibilities of marriage. The law explicitly states that pregnancy alone doesn’t establish the party’s best interests would be served by marrying.
Note: State laws are constantly changing. Please conduct your own legal research or contact an experienced Colorado family law attorney to verify any laws you are researching.
Research the Law
Contact a qualified attorney.