Minimum age to marry

 The House Judiciary Committee heard HB 1418 on the minimum age to marry by Rep. Engleman. This bill: 

  • Amends the definition of “adult” for purposes of the Indiana Code to include a married minor who is at least 16 years of age and a minor who has been completely emancipated by a court; subject to specific constitutional and statutory age requirements and health and safety regulations that remain applicable to the person because of the person’s age.  
  • Raises the minimum age to marry from 15 years of age to 17 years of age.  
  • Provides that an individual 17 years of age may marry only if: (1) the individual’s intended spouse is notmore than four years older than the individual; (2) a juvenile court has issued an order allowing the individual to marry; and (3) the individual: (A) completes any premarital counseling required under the order; (B) applies for a marriage license not earlier than 15 days after the order is issued; and (C) includes a certified copy of the order with the individual’s application for a marriage license.  
  • Repeals provisions requiring an individual less than 18 years of age to obtain consent to marry from the individual’s parent or guardian.  
  • Specifies a process an individual 17 years of age must follow to petition a juvenile court for an order allowing the individual to marry, and specifies conditions necessary for approval of the petition and conditions requiring denial of the petition.  
  • Provides that a court that issues an order allowing an individual 17 years of age to marry must also issue an order completely emancipating the individual.  
  • Amends the list of records or documents an individual may submit to a court clerk as proof of the individual’s date of birth for purposes of applying for a marriage license.  
  • Amends the law regarding petitions by minors for emancipation as follows: (1) Provides that a court hearing a minor’s petition for emancipation must appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor. (2) Provides that the guardian ad litem shall investigate the statements contained in the minor’s petition and file a report of the investigation with the court. (3) Provides that a court may grant a minor’s petition for emancipation only if the court finds that emancipation is in the child’s best interests. (4) Provides that if the court completely emancipates the child: (A) the child has all the rights and responsibilities of an adult; and (B) the emancipation order may not specify terms of emancipation.  
  • Provides that an emancipated child remains subject to Indiana law concerning minimum age for marriage and other specific constitutional and statutory age requirements applicable to the emancipated child because of the emancipated child’s age.  

The Indiana State Bar Association presented an amendment, which was adopted by consent, in the parent relocation statutes at Ind. Code 31-17-2.2-1(b); there was an ”and” in last year’s amendment when it should have been an “or.“ The Indiana State Bar Association also testified in favor of the bill. A handful of women who had personal experience as teen brides also testified in favor of the bill. The amended bill passed 9-1.  

Read the bill at: