Marriage Legislation Changes
Up until 27th February 2023, people could get married at ages 16 or 17 across England and Wales, provided they had parental consent. It wasnt against the law for weddings or ceremonies of this age bracket if they were not registered with their local council also. It was only a criminal offence to marry under the age of 18 if it could be proven that coercion or threat had been used to force the marriage.
New Law Minimum Age rises to 18
With this new law, it is illegal for any 'child' under the age of 18 to marry - under any circumstances and this includes arrangement of 'child' marriages.
This new law also means people have to be aged 18 and above to have a legal or non legal wedding service or ceremony, under this new law.
Non legal wedding ceremonies currently can be performed by Celebrants, Humanists or Imrans for example, but it will also impact other religious leaders too. It will also mean that couples wanting a friend to conduct a non legally binding ceremony cannot do so unless the couple are aged 18 and over.
It is hoped to protect more children from forced marriages, and seen as a landmark for all campaigners, where child marriage is often associated with domestic violence
The changes do not apply to Northern Ireland or Scottish.
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