Increase to the Minimum of Age of Marriage

In an attempt to end child marriages in England & Wales, the law has recently been changed to increase the minimum age for people getting married. Under the newly introduced Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 a person cannot get married (or enter into a Civil Partnership) in England and Wales until they are 18 years of age. Prior to this people could marry from the age of 16, subject to certain conditions being met.

The new Act was given Royal Assent on 28th April 2022 and is not retrospective. It will therefore only apply to marriages taking place in the future.

If a marriage takes place abroad, or in Scotland or Northern Ireland, which involves people under the age of 18 and where one of them is domiciled in England and Wales, that marriage will not be legally recognised in England and Wales.

Additionally, the legislation makes it a criminal offence for a person to cause a minor (ie, a person under the age of 18) to enter into a religious or civil marriage ceremony before their 18th birthday.

Partner, Debra Frazer, comments “This new Act of Parliament is another step in eradicating the practice of child marriages from taking place in this country and protecting vulnerable children. Child marriage essentially robs a child of their childhood, forcing them into adulthood before they are ready. It can have terrible consequences for them and is therefore a welcome piece of legislation”.

For any advice in relation to family law matters, please contact any of our Family Law specialist solicitors:

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