Ah, young love in the First State. We all remember our first crushes and early romances, but if your relationship is more serious, how young is too young to get married? In 2018, Delaware became the first state to ban child marriage, meaning your cannot get married in the state until you are 18. Unlike in most states, parental consent is not a way around the requirement. There are no exceptions to Delaware's child marriage ban.
Here is a brief overview of marriage age requirements in Delaware.
Delaware Was First State to Ban Child Marriage
In Delaware, two (2) people who are each at least 18 years old can get married. If you are not 18, you cannot get married in the state.
Marriage age limits are intended to protect young people from being coerced into marriage, but also to ensure that individuals have the maturity required for such a commitment. Additionally, minors under 18 cannot legally file for divorce, use a domestic violence shelter, check into a hotel, or apply for a credit card.
Delaware became the first state to impose a flat-out ban on child marriage. All other states have loopholes allowing minors under 18 to be married, typically with parental consent or in the case of pregnancy. Previously, a child of any age could get married in the state with court approval.
Anyone under guardianship cannot marry without the guardian’s written consent. Delaware also does not allow marriage between most close relatives. You cannot marry a parent, grandparent, sister, brother, child, grandchild, niece, nephew, aunt or uncle.
You cannot marry if either of you is currently married to someone else, or if either of you is married to someone else. The law requires that both parties be of sound mind.
Marriage License Requirements
You will need a marriage license, but you do not need blood tests, and there is no waiting period.
Do I Need to Consult with an Attorney Prior to Getting Married?
Marriage rarely requires the help of a lawyer, unless there are unusual circumstances involved. And if you plan to sign a prenuptial agreement , it is a good idea to consult an attorney first.
Marriage age requirement laws are in the following table. See State Laws on Marriage for a comparison.
||Tit. 13 sec. 123
|Minimum Age With Parental Consent
|Minimum Age Without Parental Consent
No one under the age of 18 may be granted a marriage license.
Note: Delaware marriage laws are constantly changing--contact a Delaware family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Delaware Marriage Age Requirements Laws: Related Resources