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Marriages of Minors

To get married in New York, the first step is that the couple must apply for a marriage license from the town or city clerk. The general rule is that you must be an adult to get a marriage license. This means that you must be at least 18 years old to get a marriage license. However, if the minor is at least 17 years old, with judicial approval he or she can get married. If the minor is under 17, it is illegal for the town or city clerk to issue that person a marriage license. If you are facing complex legal issues related to your marriage, contact the experienced New York family lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have the skill and resources to help ensure that your interests are protected.

Marriages of Minors

While it is fairly easy to get married in New York, there are some restrictions on who can legally get married. One restriction is that you must be at least 18 years old. If you are under 18, the marriage is voidable. This means that upon petitioning the court, the marriage can be annulled. Annulment is different from divorce. If a marriage is annulled, the court will declare that it was invalid. With a divorce, a valid marriage is terminated. If you are at least 17, you must petition the court for permission to marry. While marriage under the age of 17 is legal in some states, it is not legal in New York. According to NY Dom Rel Law § 15-a, if a town or city clerk knowingly issues a marriage license to someone under the age of 17, the clerk would have committed a misdemeanor and will have to pay a fine.

Requirements for a Marriage License

In order to get a marriage license in New York, both parties must be present to complete the application and sign it. The parties will have to present identification and pay a fee. In addition to being over the age of 17, you must consent to getting married, you must have the capacity to consent to marry, and you must understand the marriage commitment. Thus, a marriage involving a person who is mentally ill is voidable, as is a marriage that was entered into under duress. If fraud was involved, the marriage would also be voidable. If a party is physically incapable of consummating the marriage, meaning unable to have sexual intercourse, that would be grounds for annulling the marriage.

Solemnization Requirement

In addition to obtaining a marriage license, the other requirement is that the marriage must be solemnized. This means that there must be a civil or religious ceremony officiated by an authorized person, during which the parties agree to take each other as husband and wife. The solemnization ceremony must be witnessed by at least one person.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. False statements and affidavits: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 16
  2. Clergyman or officer violating article; penalty: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 17
  3. Clergymen or officer, when protected: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 18
Domestic Relations Law, Section 15-a: Marriages of Minors

Any marriage in which either party is under the age of seventeen years is hereby prohibited. Any town or city clerk who shall knowingly issue a marriage license to any persons, one or both of whom shall be at the time of their contemplated marriage actually under the age of seventeen years, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be fined in the sum of one hundred dollars.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

There are many reasons that getting married can involve legal complications. If you are facing difficult legal issues related to your marriage or impending marriage, contact an experienced New York family lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We can help. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Suffolk County, Bronx, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester County, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Manhattan.

Client Reviews
My ex-husband hadn't paid child support or the mortgage on the house as he was supposed to. Stephen Bilkis and his team of lawyers were amazing. They stopped the foreclosure on the house, Got a judgment against him and most importantly kept me and my children in the house. Can't say enough good things about him in the firm their compassion hard work and dedication were exceptional. I.G.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
Stephen has handled numerous estate matters, criminal matters and family court matters effectively and with a goal-oriented approach. He gets great results and is a results-oriented attorney. Dustin