Every state has laws to regulate aspects of marriage, such as who can marry. To marry, you need to obtain a marriage license, but to get the license, you must be at least a certain age, as specified by your state. Adults can marry who they want, including entering into a same-sex marriage in most states, Maine included.
Marriage Is a Contract
Marriage is essentially a contract, so you must have the capacity to contract, therefore, be an adult or have your parent’s permission. In Maine, the legal age of accountability for contracts is 18 years old, also known as "the age of majority." However, you can get married under 18 sometimes, such as with court or parental consent. Once married, a minor is automatically emancipated and treated as if he or she is an adult.
Even when a state permits marriage with parental or court permission, there’s usually still a minimum age to prevent very young children from marrying. Unfortunately, these marriage age laws haven’t completely eradicated the issue of child brides in the U.S. today. While we commonly associate this phenomenon with poorer countries, the Tahirih Justice Center estimates there are as many as 3,000 cases of forced marriages of minor girls in the United States.
Marriage Age Requirements in Maine
The following table lists the minimum legal ages for marriage in Maine under various circumstances.
|Code Section||Maine Code Revised Title 19-A, Section 652: Issuance of Marriage License|
|Minimum Legal Age Generally||Adult men and women can marry at the age of 18, which is the age of majority in Maine.|
|Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent||Teenage boys and girls age 16 and 17 can marry with the written consent of their parents, guardians, or custodians.|
|Court Approved Marriage||Children under the age of 16 may be able to get the court’s permission to marry with written consent of the parent, guardian, or custodian, if it’s in the best interest of the young spouse-to-be.|
If you’re considering getting married in Maine, it’s a good idea to read up on the marriage laws in your state. For a more successful marriage, you could involve your family, friends, and religious community before marrying, as appropriate.
If you have any burning questions about marriage, you may want to speak with an experienced local family law attorney.
Note: State laws change all the time. It’s best to contact a knowledgeable attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these state marriage laws.
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