Legal marriage age increased from 16 to 18
It has been announced that the legal age of marriage and civil partnerships in England and Wales is to increase from 16 to 18 years of age.
The bill, which was introduced in June 2021, was passed in parliament without opposition and is set to receive Royal Assent in the coming week, meaning it will become law.
Previously people could get married aged 16 or 17 provided they had the content of their parents.
However, the new law which also applies to religious or cultural marriages not registered with the couples’ local council will remove that option.
MP Pauline Latham, who introduced the bill to Parliament, said it would “transform the life chances of many girls”.
Children will not face penalties under the new legislation, but adults who facilitate their marriage could face fines and up to seven years in jail.
The same punishments will apply to adults who take their children abroad to get married.
It has also been confirmed that no marriage or civil partnership that happened before the new marriage age legislation comes into force will be affected.
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All advice is correct at time of publication.