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A new law in Colorado prevents children under 16 from marrying

Child marriages still happen in Colorado, despite many people believing they are against the law. Children under the age of 18 can legally marry in Colorado provided that they obtain the permission of their parents or, in certain cases, the approval of a judge. The age of the individuals, as well as their reasons for marrying, can factor into their ability to do so.

Young adults who are either 16 or 17 can get married either with the approval of both of their parents or the approval of a judge. Until recently, children under the age of 16 could also get married provided that they had both the permission of their parents and the approval of a judge.

Although marriage rates for children have dropped in recent years, dozens of teenagers under the age of 18 still get married in Colorado every year. Now, after hearing testimony from court clerks and individuals who married at young ages, state lawmakers have tightened the policy on underage marriages.

Colorado will no longer allow the marriage of teenagers under the age of 16

Moving testimony from state officials who issued marriage licenses to minors indicated that many saw problematic things happening. Many clerks reported seeing young applicants who appeared emotionally upset. Individuals who married at young ages also testified about why doing so was not in their best interests.

Their testimony moved state lawmakers to tighten the statutes on the marriages of minors. Regardless of parental or judicial approval, under House Bill 1316, young adults who are under the age of 16 cannot obtain a legal marriage license in the state of Colorado. That means that very young teenagers cannot wind up making a life-long decision before they are old enough to truly understand the consequences.

Applicants who are 16 or 17 years old may still be able to marry under the newly adjusted law. As before, doing so will require either the approval of a judge or both parents. Otherwise, they will need to wait until they reach adulthood. Once minors turn 18, they have the freedom to marry as they see fit.

Those who married young may want to seek divorce

One of the most serious legal concerns about minors getting married is that until they become legal adults, they may not have the legal right to file for divorce if it turns out that their marriage is toxic or dangerous. Without job skills, leaving an abusive spouse during young adulthood may prove incredibly difficult.

Waiting until a teenager is older and more mature for marriage can ensure that they have had time to consider their situation. This new law reduces the risk of young adults winding up trapped in a marriage they cannot leave.

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