The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022, which gained Royal Assent in April last year, has come into force today (27 February). It means that 16 and 17 year olds will no longer be allowed to marry or enter a civil partnership, even if they have parental consent.
The change was introduced to better protect children from forced marriages and forms part of the UK government’s continued commitment to tackle violence against women and girls. It is now illegal and a criminal offence to exploit vulnerable children by arranging for them to marry, under any circumstances whether or not force is used. This includes non-legally binding ‘traditional’ ceremonies which would still be viewed as marriages by the parties and their families.
The new rules do not apply in Scotland where the age remains at 16.
If you would like more details on this or for expert legal advice on all aspects of family law including cohabitation agreements, pre-nuptial or post nuptial agreements, separation and divorce please contact Denise Laverty by email – firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 0141 530 2021.