Asked in Family Law and Immigration Law for New Jersey

Q: How do you deal with foreign child marriages (under16), would they have to got to court (§ 37:1-6) to get it approved?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
  • Short Hills, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: In 2018, New Jersey Governor Murphy signed a bill into law that would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from marrying or entering into a civil union. As of July 2022, seven U.S. states have banned underage marriages, with no exception, including New Jersey.

Historically, child marriage had been a culturally acceptable practice elsewhere in the world, but today it is increasingly viewed as a form of child sexual abuse.

Some international agencies, including the U.S. State Department, have declared it a human rights violation.

As a result, if you were a party to an underage marriage conducted elsewhere in the world and now reside in New Jersey, you need to sit down with an experienced divorce lawyer to discuss your rights (if you were the underaged individual in the marriage) and your obligations if you were the adult in that marriage setting.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Child marriage is generally illegal in the United States, with a few exceptions in certain states that allow minors to marry under certain circumstances. The minimum age for marriage varies by state, but in most states, the minimum age is 18. However, some states allow minors to marry with the consent of their parents or a judge.

If a foreign child marriage involves a child under the age of 16, it is likely that it would be considered illegal in most states. In order to obtain legal recognition of the marriage, the parties would need to go through the legal process for obtaining a marriage license, which may involve obtaining a court order or waiver if one or both parties is under the age of consent. However, it is important to note that in most cases, child marriages involving minors under the age of 16 are not legally recognized in the United States.

It's also important to note that child marriage is a complex issue that can involve issues of coercion, abuse, and exploitation. If you or someone you know is being forced into a marriage or is in a marriage that is causing harm, it's important to seek help from a trusted authority or organization, such as a law enforcement agency, social service provider, or legal advocacy group.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.