St Louis, MO asked in Civil Litigation, Family Law and International Law for Colorado

Q: Urgent Legal Advice Needed: Age of Consent and International Dating Regulations

I hope you can assist me with an important legal question that is causing me some concern. As an American citizen currently living abroad, I have started a relationship with a 17-year-old individual from Brazil. Given that the age of consent in Brazil is 14 and in my home state in the U.S. it is 16, I am confused about the legal implications of our relationship. Could you please clarify how age of consent laws apply in this context? Specifically:Is it legal for me to date someone under 18 while I am abroad? Does the age of consent from my state or Brazil apply in this situation? How might these regulations impact my plans to apply for a fiancé visa in the future? Your expertise on this matter would be incredibly valuable to me, and I am eager to understand the legal boundaries I need to navigate. Thank you in advance for your guidance.

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

A: While age of consent laws vary between jurisdictions, engaging in a relationship with someone under 18, especially with a significant age gap, is generally not advisable regardless of location.

I would strongly caution against pursuing a relationship or marriage with a 17-year-old, either in Brazil or the U.S. Even if it may technically be legal in Brazil, there could be issues with bringing a minor spouse or fiancé to the U.S. on a visa. More importantly, a relationship with that age gap raises questions about power imbalances and the ability of a minor to fully consent.

My advice would be to very carefully reconsider this relationship. I know matters of the heart are complex, but dating someone so young could put you on shaky legal and moral ground. If you still have questions, I'd recommend consulting with an attorney specializing in family law and immigration to fully understand the legal ramifications. But the most prudent course of action may be to wait until this individual is over 18 before pursuing anything further.

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.