Every state regulates the age at which individuals can legally marry in the state. In South Carolina, the general age for consent for marriage is the same as the general legal age of majority, 18 years old. However, there are exceptions to the marriage law to permit those under 18 to marry with the consent of a parent or guardian in some circumstances.
The following table outlines the age of consent to marry laws in South Carolina.
|Code Section||South Carolina Code Sections 20-1-250 to 20-1-300|
|Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent||Any person, male or female, who meets the other requirements to marry (including mental capacity), can marry once they are a legal adult at 18 years old.
Eighteen is also the age at which common law marriages can be entered into.
|Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent||Any child, male or female, can marry at 16 years old with the permission of at least one parent or guardian. You have to bring a sworn affidavit of the parent or guardian with you to the probate judge to get the marriage license.
Note that this rule only applies when the applicant for the marriage license resides with his or her father, mother, other relative, or guardian. So you can’t have your aunt you love, but don’t live with, sign a sworn affidavit giving consent for you to marry.
|Court Ordered License for Minors Under 16||Younger minors can get a marriage license when the girl is pregnant or had a child with the man she’s trying to marry. If she already had the baby, she’ll need proof of the pregnancy from a doctor. There’s no minimum age in this case, although puberty limits the minimum to some degree.
The female who had the child will need the permission of one parent, guardian, or person she lives with, if no one qualified is available, the local county superintendent for the Department of Social Services can consent for the girl. There are no more consent requirements for the boy.
If you have questions about your situation or about getting married before turning 18 years old, you’ll want to speak with an experienced South Carolina family law attorney. An attorney can guide you through the process of applying for a marriage license with or without parental permission (if eligible).
Note: As you may know, state laws change frequently. Therefore, you should conduct your own legal research or contact an attorney to confirm any state laws you’re reviewing.
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