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D.C. Marriage Laws

Although state laws pertaining to marriage vary from state to state, they each have age, legal capacity, and consent requirements. State laws also outline the legal procedure for getting married, including who's permitted to solemnize a marriage and how to get a marriage license. Many jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, also address same-sex marriage in their laws.

Same-Sex Marriage in D.C.

While same-sex marriage became legal throughout the U.S. in 2015, it has been legal in D.C. since 2010. That's the year that a law went into effect declaring that marriage is the "legally recognized union of two persons," regardless of gender. The law also states that any gender-specific terms should be construed as gender neutral when in the context of rights and responsibilities related to marital or familial relationships.

D.C. Marriage Laws at a Glance

While it's always important to read the primary source of information -- in this case, the actual text of a statute -- it can also be helpful to read a summary of that information. In the following table you have access to both an overview of marriage laws in D.C. and links to relevant statutes.

Statute(s)

District of Columbia Code, Division VIII, Title 46, Subtitle I, Chapter 4, Section 46-401, et seq. (Marriage)

Age Requirements

An individual must be 18 years old to get married without parental consent, but can get married as young as 16 with the consent of their parent or guardian.

Automatically Void Marriages

A marriage is automatically void if either spouse is already married to someone else, or if it's between an individual and their:

  • Grandparent;
  • Grandparent's spouse;
  • Parent's sibling;
  • Parent;
  • Step-parent;
  • Spouse's parent;
  • Child;
  • Spouse's child;
  • Child's spouse;
  • Sibling;
  • Sibling's child;
  • Grandchild;
  • Grandchild's spouse; or
  • Spouse's grandchild.
Marriages Void by Judicial Decree

The following marriages are void when declared so by a judicial decree:

  • If one spouse in the marriage is found to be (currently or at the time when the marriage was performed) mentally incompetent to give consent to marriage;
  • If one spouse gave consent to marriage as a result of force or fraud; and
  • If either spouse is under 16 years old.
Related Statute(s)

District of Columbia Code, Division VIII, Title 46, Subtitle I, Chapter 5, Section 46-501, et seq. (Premarital Agreements)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

D.C. Marriage Laws: Related Resources

For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.

Have More Questions About D.C. Marriage Laws? Ask an Attorney

Marriage is a legal commitment to another person and, as such, comes with a variety of rights and responsibilities. If you have any questions about marriage laws in D.C. or how getting married will affect your property rights, it's a good idea to speak with a skilled Washington, D.C. family law attorney today.

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