Most states, including Missouri, have requirements for how old you must be to get married, either with or without parental consent. These laws are intended to protect minors from being coerced into marriage or getting married before they're mature enough to make such a commitment. However, state laws also typically allow those younger than the minimum age to get married in the event of a pregnancy with court approval.
Overview of Missouri Marriage Age Requirement Laws
The "Show-Me" state previously allowed minors younger than 15 to get married "under special circumstances and for good cause." For example, a 14-year-old girl who is pregnant may meet the "special circumstances" requirement, but also must want to get married for "good cause." If the father is supportive and the marriage is in the best interests of the young family, then the court likely would grant a court order for the marriage license.
In July 2018, Missouri's governor signed a bill raising the minimum age of marriage with parental consent to 16. Additionally, the bill prevents anyone 21 or older to marry someone under the age of 18. This bill went into effect in August 2018.
Getting a Marriage License in Missouri
The Recorder of Deeds in each Missouri county is authorized to issue marriage licenses within the state, while both applicants must appear in person and present valid identification. The person performing the marriage ceremony must return the license to the Recorder of Deeds within 15 days of the ceremony.
Missouri Marriage Age Requirements Laws: An Overview
The following table provides the basics of Missouri's marriage age requirements, with a link to the statute.
Missouri Revised Statutes, Title XXX, Chapter 451, Section 451.020 (prohibiting marriage of persons who lack capacity to enter into marriage contracts)
Missouri Revised Statutes, Title XXX, Chapter 451, Section 451.090 (requiring parental consent for issuance of marriage licenses for minors)
|Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent
Male: 16; Female: 16
|Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent
Male: 18; Female: 18
A person age 21 or older cannot marry someone under 18 years of age.
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.
Missouri Marital Property Laws: Related Resources
Are You Old Enough for Marriage? Talk to an Attorney Today
Sometimes the consequences of getting married aren't as easy to foresee, especially when it comes to legal effects such as how you and your spouse will hold property and debts. Before making any decisions, it's important to speak with a legal expert to answer your questions and guide you through the process. Do so today by speaking with a trusted Missouri family law attorney near you.