After much debate and, ultimately, a change in the governor’s mansion, New Jersey last week became only the second state (Delaware was the first) to ban – without exception – marriages involving individuals under 18 years of age. Four other states ban the practice, but allow for a path to such marriage under certain exceptions, while similar legislation is under consideration in Ohio and Pennsylvania. 19 states still do not have a minimum marriage age, and 7 states allow for marriages involving children of 14 or 15 years of age.
The law, which, from a general perspective, is designed to protect minors (especially women) from being forced into arranged marriages, changes New Jersey’s prior law that allowed 16 and 17 year olds to procure marriage licenses with parental consent (16 year olds also required judicial approval).
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Robert Epstein is a partner in Fox Rothschild LLP’s Family Law Practice Group and practices throughout New Jersey. He can be reached at (973) 994-7526, or firstname.lastname@example.org.