Marriage comes with shared privileges and responsibilities for spouses such as caring for each other and their children, filing joint taxes, and owning marital property. Each state has laws regarding requirements that must be met to legally take on the privileges and responsibilities of marriage. Maryland has specific legal age, consent, and capacity requirements for entering a marriage.
Maryland Age Requirements for Marriage
Children under the legal age of consent must obtain parental consent to marry. Almost all states, including Maryland, have set the minimum legal age for marriage without parental consent at 18 years of age for both parties. Minors aged 16 to 17 may marry only if parental consent is obtained or if a physician certifies that the female is pregnant or has given birth to a child.
Minors under age 15 may not marry unless either party provides the clerk with a physician’s certification that the female party is pregnant or has given birth to a child. Moreover, any person age 15 must obtain parental consent. Minors under the age of 15 cannot be married.
The Consent and Capacity Requirements for Marriage
In addition to being 18 years old or qualifying for marriage with parental consent, pregnancy, or child birth exceptions, couples may only marry if each party has given valid consent and can agree to the marriage. These requirements apply in every state.
Both parties must agree to the marriage by giving valid consent for their marriage to be recognized by the state. There must be no force used against either party to the union and it must be clear that the nature of the union will be a legally-recognized marriage. If one party was coerced into the marriage, they may be deemed to have given invalid consent and the marriage may not be legally recognized by the state.
Additionally, parties must be mentally capable of agreeing to enter a marriage. This requirement was designed to prevent vulnerable individuals from being exploited by others for personal, psychological, or financial reasons. However, the standard to prove capacity is relatively low, requiring only that the parties understand the nature of the marriage and their responsibilities to one another as spouses.
The capacity requirement refers to a person’s mental capacity. Physical incapacities in and of themselves will not necessarily render someone incapable of marrying. The inability to have sexual intercourse, for example, will neither prevent a marriage from occurring nor void a marriage that has already occurred. There are also application requirements for Maryland marriages, such as the requirement to provide certain identification information and the requirement to pay a marriage license fee, which can vary from county to county.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Knowledgeable Advice Regarding Maryland Marriage and Divorce
If you have any questions about Maryland marital law, the marriage consent age, or other inquiries about the divorce process, please contact the experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. From our offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients throughout the state, including Towson, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Carroll County, Essex, Harford County, Howard County, Hunt Valley, and Westminster. For a free, confidential consultation, contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150.