New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that would raise the legal minimum age of marriage to 17. Currently, the law allows for any child above the age of 14 to become married, as long as they have obtained permission from both the court and their parents. However, advocates for raising the age to marry say that allowing 14 year olds to get married opens the door for child abuse, as many of them are married to adults. In addition, the current law allows 16 and 17 year olds to marry without permission from the court, as long as they have obtained permission from a parent or guardian.
The new law will require that in order for a 17 year old to get married, they must take legal measures and retain the representation of an attorney. Those who choose to get married at 17 must go through an interview on-camera with the court. Then, the court will create written findings so the judge can determine whether or not they will approve the marriage. The attorney who represents each minor must have gone through some sort of training in how to recognize domestic violence.
This human-rights law aims to protect minor children from abuse and forced marriages. In New York State alone, there were 4,000 marriages with one spouse who is a minor between 2000 and 2010.
If you have questions about the laws surrounding marriage in New York State, contact an experienced family law attorney who can provide you with assistance.
Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.