As a family law attorney, I was riveted to hear about this 17-year-old Girl Scout fighting to change the law in her home state of New Hampshire; the law allows girls as young as 13, and boys who are 14 to be married with the consent of a judge who finds a special circumstance.
You can watch the news clip on cbslocal by clicking here.
Nearly all states have limits on how young an individual may be when getting married, with certain exceptions. In Washington State, you must be at least 17 to get married -- 18 to do so without parental consent. But even here minors under the age of 17 may obtain a license after petitioning the court in "special circumstances.”
The State only tracks marriage age by category, but last year about 3 percent of all couples marrying in the state were under 20 according to the Washington State Department of Health. Many Child Advocates believe that these judicial approval “loopholes” to child marriage should not be allowed.
Often these marriages are between younger girls and older men; and according to this Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation report “child marriage undermines girls' health, education, and economic opportunities, and increases their risk of experiencing violence.” For more information regarding child marriage and forced marriage, you can also visit this NY times OP-Ed piece written by Fraidy Riess.
If you, or someone in your family is a victim of domestic violence, please contact our office. Because we focus solely on family law, we understand the dynamics and can help guide you through the process. Please contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC for a free consultation regarding your domestic violence issues. For more on Domestic Violence please visit the DV section of our website by clicking here.