Dictionary Definition

marriageability n : eligibility for marriage

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. The condition of being marriageable

Extensive Definition

Marriageable age (or marriage age) is the age at which a person is allowed to marry, either as of right or subject to parental or other forms of consent. The age and other requirements vary between countries.
The marriage age should not be confused with the age of majority or the age of consent. The marriage age in a country may be below the age of majority and the age of consent that applies in that country.
The following is an incomplete list of marriageable ages in various countries. The list is current, and does not treat the topic in history.

Africa

  • Algeria: 21 for males and 18 for females, scope for judicial discretion if necessity or benefit is established for marriage below that age.
  • Egypt: 18 for males and 15 for females (lunar calendar).
  • Ethiopia: Legally 18 for both males and females. In practice, however, children in rural areas are married young. It is not uncommon to see girls as young as 6 years of age being married. It is also unusual for a girl to be 16 and yet unmarried.
  • Kenya: 16 for statutory marriages under the Marriage Act.
  • Libya: 20 years for men and women; judicial discretion for marriages below that age on grounds of benefit or necessity and with wali's agreement.
  • Madagascar: 17 for males, 14 for females.
  • Morocco: 18 years for both males and females (since the legal reform of 2004).
  • Senegal: 20 for males and females.
  • Somalia: 18 years for both parties; female party may marry at 16 with guardian's consent; Court may grant exemption from minimum age requirements in case of necessity.
  • South Africa: 18, or 16 with parental consent. There are provisions made for respecting the marriage laws of traditional marriages, whereby a person might be married as young as 12 for females and 14 for males.
  • Sudan: Puberty, with requirement for willing consent of both parties.
  • Tanzania: 18 for males and 15 for females; courts may permit underage marriage of parties who have reached 14 years of age if specific circumstances make marriage appear desirable; Penal Code provides that persons of "African or Asiatic descent" may marry or permit marriage of girl under 12 years of age in accordance with their custom or religion if marriage is not intended to be consummated before she attains 12 years.
  • Tunisia: 20 for males and 17 for females; marriage below these ages require special permission from the court, which may be given only for pressing reasons and on the basis of a clear interest for both spouses. .

Americas

  • Argentina: 21 generally; with parental consent is 16 for females, 18 for males. Under these ages only exceptional cases with judicial consent (See Articles 166, 167 and 168 - Marriage Section of the Argentine Civil Code).
  • Brazil: 18 generally; 16 with parental consent; unlimited in case of pregnancy. Since 2003 marital status is granted by law to adolescents (legally defined as individuals from 12 to 17) living together to someone else, with family approval (article 1513 of the 2003 Civil Code).
  • Canada: 18 generally, 16 with parental consent, 14 with judicial consent, no lower age limits for widows, widowers or divorcees.
  • Chile: 18 generally, 16 with parental consent.
  • Mexico: 18 for males and females. 16 years old for both only with parental or legal consent.
  • Paraguay: 14 for females and 16 for males. Article 39, clause "b", of the Paraguayan Civil Code reads: “The legal incapacity of minors will cease: ...(b) for gentlemen of 16 and for women of 14 years completed, through marriage, with the limitations established in this Code”.
  • Peru: 18 for all
  • United States: Usually 18. Most states, however, allow marriage at a younger age with parental and/or judicial consent. Some states allow marriage at a still younger age if the female is pregnant.
    • Alabama: 18, 16 with parental consent (statute).
    • Alaska: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Arizona: no statutory minimum, those under 18 must have parental consent, those under 16 must receive approval of a superior court judge and parental consent. (statute)
    • Arkansas: 18, 16 for females and 17 for males with parental consent.
    • California: no statutory minimum, those under 18 must receive approval of a superior court judge and parental consent.
    • Colorado: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Connecticut: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • District of Columbia: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Delaware: 18, 16 for females with parental consent.
    • Florida: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Georgia: 18 generally, 15 with parental consent, 16 without parental consent if pregnant.
    • Hawaii: 18, 15 with parental consent.
    • Idaho: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Illinois: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Indiana: 18, 17 with parental consent.
    • Iowa: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Kansas: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Kentucky: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Louisiana: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Maine: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Massachusetts: 18 generally for first marriage, 16 with parental and judicial consent .
    • Maryland: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Michigan: 18 generally, 16 with parental consent. 15 and under with parental consent and probate judge approval.
    • Minnesota: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Mississippi: 21, 17 for males, 15 for females, with parental consent.
    • Missouri: 18, 15 with parental consent.
    • Montana: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Nebraska: 19, 17 with parental consent.
    • Nevada: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • New Hampshire: 18 generally; 14 for males and 13 for females, in cases of "special cause" with parental consent and court permission.
    • New Jersey: 18 generally, 16 with parental consent.
    • New Mexico: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • New York: 18 generally, 16 with parental consent, 14 with parental and judicial consent.
    • North Carolina: 18 generally, 16 with parental consent, unlimited in case of pregnancy or birth of child with parental consent.
    • North Dakota: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Ohio: 18 for males, 16 for females. Parental consent needed for minors.
    • Oklahoma: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Oregon: 18 generally, 17 with parental consent. The consenting parent or guardian must accompany the applicant when applying for the marriage license. There is no waiver for anyone under the age of 17.
    • Pennsylvania: 18 generally, 16 with Birth Certificate and written consent of parent or guardian. Anyone under the age of 16 needs parental consent and the approval of a Judge of the Orphans Court. (statute)
    • Puerto Rico: 21, 18 with parental consent.
    • Rhode Island: 18, 16 for females with parental consent.
    • South Carolina: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • South Dakota: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Tennessee: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Texas: 18, 16 with parental consent. 14 with judicial consent or if person under 18 had previously married and divorced.
    • Utah: 18 generally for first marriage, 16 with parental consent, 15 with court approval.
    • Vermont: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Virginia: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Washington: 18, 17 with parental consent. May be waived by superior court judge.(statute)
    • West Virginia: 18, 16 with parental consent, under 16 (unspecified limit) with parental and judicial consent
    • Wisconsin: 18, 16 with parental consent.
    • Wyoming: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Venezuela: 18 generally, 14 for females and 16 for males with parental consent.

Asia

  • Afghanistan: 18 for males, 14 for females, although more than half of marriages involve females under 14.
  • Armenia: 18 for males, 17 for females.
  • Azerbaijan: 18 for males, 17 for females. 17 or 16 correspondingly in special cases.
  • China (PRC): 22 for males, 20 for females.
  • Hong Kong SAR of China: 21, 16 with parental consent.
  • Bangladesh: 21 for males and 18 for females, lunar calendar; penal sanctions for contracting under-age marriages, though such unions are not considered invalid.
  • Brunei: No minimum marriage age specified.
  • India: 21 for males, 18 for females.
  • Indonesia: According to the Indonesia's Civil Law, males and females are allowed to marry at 21. But with the permissions from the parents, males are allowed to marry at 19, and females at 16.
  • Iran: 15 for males, 13 for females. (girls under 13 and boys under 15 may get married with their guardian consent and court ruling that it is in their interest, rarely ever done at the age of 13/15, in some cases in late 20s)
  • Iraq: 18 for men and women; judicial permission may be granted at 15 years if fitness, physical capacity and guardian's consent (or unreasonable objection on part of guardian) are established. (May or may not have been revised after Saddam Hussein's fall.)
  • Israel: 18 for males, 17 for females.
  • Kazakhstan: 18 years, in special cases 16 years with parental consent
  • Kuwait: No minimum marriage age identified; capacity to marry requires parties to be of age (puberty) and of sound mind, however, no notarisation or registration of marriage permitted where female has not reached 15 years or male 17 years
  • Kyrgyzstan: 18 years for males and females
  • Lebanon: 18 years for males and 17 for females; scope for judicial discretion on basis of physical maturity and wali's permission from 17 years for males and 9 for females; real puberty or 15/9 with judicial permission for Shi'a; 18/17 or 16/15 with judicial permission for Druze.
  • Japan: 20 generally, 18 for males with parental consent, 16 for females with parental consent.
  • Jordan: 16 for males and 15 for females, lunar calendar; court permission required for females under 18 to marry men older by 20 years or more.
  • Malaysia: 21, 18 with parental consent, 16 for females with special marriage license.
  • Maldives: According to custom, the minimum age for marriage is 15; the Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child discourages marriage before the age of 16
  • Pakistan: 18 for males, 16 for females.
  • Philippines: 21 for males, 18 for females, 16-21 with parental consent, 22-25 with Parental Advice (parents aware of couple's intent) http://www.gov.ph/faqs/familycode.asp.
  • Singapore: 21, 18 with parental consent, below 18 with special marriage license.
  • South Korea: 20 generally. 18 for males, 16 for females with parental consent.
  • Sri Lanka: In general, the minimum marriage age is 18; for Muslims, the rule is that a girl must be 12 years of age or have a Quazi's permission to marry before contracting into marriage.
  • Syria: 18 years for males and 17 for females; judicial discretion for males of 15 years and females of 13 years; judge may withhold permission for marriage if court finds incompatibility in age between betrothed parties.
  • Taiwan (ROC): 20 generally. 18 for males, 16 for females with parental consent.
  • Thailand: 20, 15 with parental consent.
  • Uzbekistan 18 for males, 17 for females. 17 and 16 correspondingly in special conditions.
  • Vietnam: 20 for males, 18 for females.
  • Yemen: 9 ("In 1999, the minimum marriage age of fifteen for women, rarely enforced, was abolished: the onset of puberty, interpreted to be at the age of nine, was set as a requirement for consummation of marriage.")

Europe

  • Austria: 18, 16 with court consent (partner must be 18 or older).
  • Belgium: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Bulgaria: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Croatia: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Cyprus: 16
  • Czech republic: 18, 16 for females in case of pregnacy (parental consent required).
  • Denmark: 18 generally, one can marry at 16 with special letter of approval from the Queen and parental consent.
  • Estonia: 18, 15 with parental or court consent.
  • Finland: 18 generally, under 18 with the consent of the ministry of justice in extraordinary circumstances, in which case parents or other guardian must be heard, but actual parental consent is not required.
  • France: 18 for males and females, without exceptions. (The 2005 law intends to protect minors from arranged childhood marriages).
  • Germany: 18 generally, 16 with court consent (partner must be 18 or older).
  • Hungary: 18, 16 with parental consent.
  • Iceland: 18, the Ministry of Justice may permit the marriage of younger persons.
  • Republic of Ireland: 18, 16 with parental consent, below 16 with both parental and High Court consent.
  • Italy: 18 generally, 16 with court consent.
  • Lithuania: 18, 16 with court permission.
  • Netherlands: 18 generally, 16 with parental consent, below 16 with both parental consent and permission from the Queen.
  • Norway: 18 generally, younger with consent from parents (guardian) and permission from the County Governor. The County Governor may only give permission when there are 'special reasons for contracting a marriage'. http://www.lovdata.no/all/hl-19910704-047.html#1http://www.ub.uio.no/ujur/ulovdata/lov-19910704-047-eng.pdf
  • Poland: 18, 16 with court permission.
  • Portugal: 18, 16 with parental consent (if not possible, the court can provide the consent).
  • Romania: 18 for males. For females 16 generally, 15 with permission from the district's administrative board. http://www.e-juridic.ro/index.php?pag=a&id=130&s=Codul%20familiei&aid=1047
  • Russia: 18 generally, 16 or 14 with consent of a parent or guardian (depends on region), unlimited under special circumstances.
  • Slovakia: 18, 16 with court consent.
  • Spain: 18, 16 with parental consent
  • Sweden: 18 generally, underage may marry with permission from the county administrative board. The county administrative board may only give permission when there are 'special reasons' but although the custodians of the underage should be heard if possible, the consent of the custodians is not required. [http://62.95.69.15/cgi-bin/thw?%24%7BHTML%7D=sfst_lst&%24%7BOOHTML%7D=sfst_dok&%24%7BSNHTML%7D=sfst_err&%24%7BMAXPAGE%7D=26&%24%7BTRIPSHOW%7D=format%3DTHW&%24%7BBASE%7D=SFST&%24%7BANDOR%7D=NOT&%24%7BFREETEXT%7D=1987%3A230&tidb=%3C2005-5-13&UPPH=%3C2005-5-13 The Swedish Matrimonial Code (SFS 1987:230), 2006-05-13]
  • Switzerland: 18
  • Turkey: 18, 17 with parental consent, 16 under special circumstances with court approval.
  • Ukraine: 18 for males, 17 for females, 16 with parental consent.
  • United Kingdom

Oceania

marriageability in German: Ehemündigkeit
marriageability in Korean: 혼인적령
marriageability in Japanese: 結婚適齢期
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