Each state regulates marriage. Adult couples can decide whether or when to marry, including gay and lesbian couples where same-sex marriage has been legalized, which includes Utah since October 2014. However, if under the legal age of adulthood in a state, parents, guardians, or the court, in some situations, must provide permission for a child to marry. Even then, there’s usually a minimum age to prevent very young children from marrying.
Some states, including Utah, require premarital counseling. Utah encourages the use of premarital counseling by persons seeking to marry who are under 19 years old or who’ve been previously divorced. Depending on which county in Utah you live in, premarital counseling may be a prerequisite for getting a marriage license.
The chart below lists the minimum legal ages for marriage in Utah under various circumstances.
||Utah Code Sections 30-1-2: Marriages Prohibited and Void and 30-1-9: Marriages of Minors, Parental Consent, and Court Authorization
|Minimum Legal Age Without Parental Consent
||Both men and women who are at least 18 years old can legally marry in Utah without the permission of anyone else, including parents or religious leaders.
|Minimum Legal Age With Parental Consent
||Teenage boys and girls who are at least 16 years old, but are not yet 18 years old can get married in Utah with the consent of their parents or guardians. Who must consent depends on the youth’s circumstances:
- If the child’s parents are married, either parent can sign consent to the marriage
- If the parents are divorced and only one parent has legal custody, then he or she must consent to the marriage
- If the parents are divorced and both have joint custody, then the parent with physical custody the majority of the time must consent
- If the child lives with a guardian rather than parents, the guardian must provide proof of guardianship and sign consent to the marriage
|Court Approval Exceptions
||Teens who are at least 15 years old can marry with court approval. The 15 year old must, with his or her parent, petition the juvenile court or court commissioner for permission to marry.
|Minimum Age for First Cousin Marriage
||Utah permits first cousins to marry as long as both parties are at least 65 years old, or both parties are at least 55 years old and the local district court has determined that either party is unable to reproduce.
If you’re considering getting married and live in Utah, the best place to start is to read up on the marriage laws in your state. Be sure to involve your family, friends, and religious community, if applicable and as appropriate, for a great beginning to hopefully many happy years of wedded bliss.
Note: State laws are updated by legislators, voters, and the courts constantly. It’s important to verify these marriage laws or learn the answers to your burning marriage questions by speaking with an experienced local family law attorney or conducting your own legal research.
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