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Kentucky Marriage Age Requirements Laws

Every state regulates marriage, including who can get married and at what age. Many states permit a judicial bypass or a way to ask the court to grant a marriage license for youths under 18 who want to get married, but can’t get due to absentee parents or lacking the permission of their parents. This is usually limited to extreme circumstances including pregnancy. This was used more often when children born out of wedlock were treated differently than those with married parents. However, illegitimacy is a constitutionally protected class and people can’t be discriminated against on the basis of their parents marriage or not at birth.

The following table explains more of the legal marriage age requirements in Kentucky.

Code Section Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 402.020 – Other Prohibited Marriages
Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent Boys and girls can marry at age 16 or 17 with the permission of at least one parent (biological or adopted) or guardian, depending on the circumstances of the child’s parents:
  • If married, only one parent needs to grant permission
  • If divorced or legally separated with joint custody, both the mom and dad must grant permission
  • If only one parent has custody, than that parent must grant permission
  • If one of the parents is deceased, the surviving parent must grant permission
  • If neither parent has custody or is alive, than the legal custodian or guardian must grant permission
Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent Adult men and women 18 years or older can marry whomever they please without parental permission. The one exception is otherwise prohibited marriages, including same-sex marriage which was found unconstitutional by the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Michigan.
Marriage Under 18 Without Parental Consent Minors under the age of 18 can obtain a marriage license without parental permission in case of a pregnancy or birth of a child by petition the court. The local district court judge can grant permission for the marriage license. This petition has a $5 court cost.

It’s important to talk to your family, friends, and religious advisors before making a big decision like getting married, especially if you want to do so before you turn 18 years old. If you still have questions or want help with petitioning the court or drafting a prenuptial agreement, you should talk to an experienced local family law attorney.

Note: Because state laws change regularly, it’s important to verify the laws you’re researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable attorney.

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