Missouri has long been regarded as one of the easiest states for children 15 years or younger to get married in. Effective August 28, 2018, Missouri law makes it impossible for children under 16 to get married, and makes it more difficult for 16 and 17 year olds. Before the new law, Missouri was one of 25 states with no minimum marriage age, which made the state a destination for underage brides and grooms. Many people were concerned that the lack of age requirements in the past had opened to the door for adults to prey on children and, in essence, legalize what otherwise would be defined as statutory rape, among other concerns. Now children under the age of 16 may not obtain a marriage license even with parental consent or an order from a judge. Further, no license will issue for the marriage of a person 21 years or older if the other party is under age 18. Persons who are 16 or 17 years old may marry, but only with the written consent of a custodial parent or his or her guardian, so long as the other person is not 21 years or older. The consent of only one parent is required.
People considering marriage must comply with the law in the place where they are to be married so they do not later find out that their marriage is invalid. The attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, can advise you on steps you can take to find out whether your marriage or the marriage of your child meets all of the requirements.