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MonaLeigh
01-11-2011, 06:04 AM
If I have two seventeen year olds who get married, and are too young to legally marry, what happens?

Is it just like it never took place? Can they each just walk away and go back to their life? Do they have to get annulled?

Thanks:)

jclarkdawe
01-11-2011, 06:32 AM
What do you want to have happen? What does your plot need? This can be spun a couple of different ways to obtain different results.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

MonaLeigh
01-11-2011, 06:37 AM
Well, it's a young adult road trip novel with two girls. The mc is a sheltered, wannabe-free spirited girl. She's 17 (or could be 16) and she meets a guy and marries him spontaneously. I don't want her to end up with him or bring him back home. I was hoping it could somehow just be forgotten and not cause any legal problems. Also, she doesn't have a driver's license so she'd have a hard time anyway getting a marriage license.

Jean
01-11-2011, 07:01 AM
They couldn't get marry in the first place otherwise they fake their ID. And it doesn't count, I think. They might get a preblem for faking identity, though.

MonaLeigh
01-11-2011, 07:02 AM
Ok, so if they used fake IDs to obtain a marriage license, then what? Since it's illegal it is like it never even happened?

Cyia
01-11-2011, 07:07 AM
Find a state where the marriage age is lower, then there could be all sorts of legality issues. Some states still have the "one night" co-habitation laws for commonlaw marriage, if you want to go at it from that angle.

Jean
01-11-2011, 07:18 AM
Ok, so if they used fake IDs to obtain a marriage license, then what? Since it's illegal it is like it never even happened?I think so.

Should they need to legally marry? You should see Have Dreams, Will Travel. Two young runaways sneak into a barn. They get to know the owner and have him marry them (they are 12). It isn't official or anything but the two take their marriage seriously. It's the sweetest marriage scene ever!

sunandshadow
01-11-2011, 09:23 AM
A spontaneous free-spirit marriage seems more plausible to be performed by a religious/spiritual figure who doesn't legally have the ability to officially marry people. It could be a handfasting or something similar.

Medievalist
01-11-2011, 11:39 AM
Well, it's a young adult road trip novel with two girls. The mc is a sheltered, wannabe-free spirited girl. She's 17 (or could be 16) and she meets a guy and marries him spontaneously. I don't want her to end up with him or bring him back home. I was hoping it could somehow just be forgotten and not cause any legal problems. Also, she doesn't have a driver's license so she'd have a hard time anyway getting a marriage license.

That depends entirely on the state and the date.

Cyia
01-11-2011, 03:12 PM
A spontaneous free-spirit marriage seems more plausible to be performed by a religious/spiritual figure who doesn't legally have the ability to officially marry people. It could be a handfasting or something similar.


Or someone who does one of those online insta-credential things, but gets one that isn't official.

PinkAmy
01-11-2011, 03:49 PM
17 is legal in most states w/o parental permission, if I'm not mistaken. States make the laws.
The marriage would still be legal even if they lied about their ages, BUT their parents have the power to force an anullment. 17 is so close to 18 the teens could probably petition a judge and become emancipated, if push came to shove.

shaldna
01-11-2011, 04:39 PM
I can't speak for the states, but here you can marry at 16 but you have to have parental permission.

jclarkdawe
01-11-2011, 05:42 PM
First off, I don't know the age of majority for marriages, but I'd check in the state you're interested in. There are also some other requirements, which vary from state to state. Town clerks can also handle this slightly differently, as they match the needs of their town. For example, when I got married, the town clerk didn't require a birth certificate, but she'd known me since I was a baby. On the flip side, she then went and lost the certificate for the town files.

ID is now a serious issue for marriage certificates. Most town clerks are probably going to require two separate IDs, including a photo ID from the government and a birth certificate. Federal laws involving official documents (birth, death, marriage certificates) have become tighter in recent years.

So your first question is whether they are going to get a marriage certificate. If they do, then the prudent attorney is going to advise her to get an annulment, so as to destroy the record. If they don't get a marriage certificate, then there is no official record, so they can pretty much ignore what they did.

Caveat is that if after the marriage they acted in a way that portrayed themselves as a married couple, and obtained credit or housing or something similar, even if there is no marriage certificate, you might want to formally dissolve the relationship. This could be as simple as a published notice in the local newspaper.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

MonaLeigh
01-11-2011, 06:52 PM
Thank you for all the responses!

raburrell
01-11-2011, 06:56 PM
I had checked into this for my own WIP a while back - w/o a parents permission, you must be 18 in all US states. (With permission, it varies).

If they'd managed to get a license issued with faked IDs, it would be considered null and void.

Aerial
01-11-2011, 08:39 PM
A lot of states also have requirements for having a blood test done before they'll issue a certificate, also.

I got married when I was 17 and my father had to sign the marriage license along with my husband and I before it became a valid license. Despite having had a church wedding and being married by a preacher, etc, the marriage (as I understand it) would not have been legally valid without my dad's signature.

Aerial

Mr Flibble
01-11-2011, 08:39 PM
I can't speak for the states, but here you can marry at 16 but you have to have parental permission.


If you don't have permission there's always Gretna Green.

shaldna
01-11-2011, 09:00 PM
If you don't have permission there's always Gretna Green.

It's actually harder to get married in Gretna than it is anywhere else. We looked into it, so much more paperwork, and the hassle of residencey in scotland for a set period.