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West Virginia Code 48-2-301

Age of consent for marriage; exception.

EFFECTIVE JUNE 9, 2023 : Age of consent for marriage; exception. (a) The age of consent for marriage for all persons, both male and female, is 18 years of age. A person under the age of 18 lacks the capacity to marry without the consents required by this section. (b) The clerk of the county commission may issue a marriage license to an applicant who is under the age of 18 but at least 16 years of age if the clerk obtains valid written consent from the applicant and from the applicant's parent or parents or the applicant's legal guardian or guardians as outlined in this section: Provided, That a marriage license may not be issued to an applicant who is under the age of 18 but who is at least 16 years of age if the person whom the applicant seeks to marry is more than four years older than the applicant. (c) An applicant who is under the age of 18 but who is at least 16 years of age must give his or her signed and acknowledged affirmation that he or she is freely and voluntarily choosing to enter into a marriage with the person named in the application as part of the written consent required by this section. The applicant must also provide, as part of the same written consent, a signed and acknowledged affirmation that his or her decision to enter into the marriage is not the product of duress or coercion by any person. (d) A consent to marry must be duly acknowledged before an officer authorized to acknowledge a deed. If the parents of the applicant are living together at the time the application for a marriage license is made and the consent is given, the signatures of both parents or the signature of the applicant's legal guardian or guardians is required. If one parent is dead, the signature of the surviving parent or the applicant's legal guardian or guardians is required. If both parents are dead, the signature of the applicant's legal guardian or guardians is required. If the parents of the applicant are living separate and apart, the signature of the parent or parents having decision-making authority for the applicant, or the applicant's legal guardian or guardians is required: Provided, That, if the applicant's parents are separate and apart or divorced but have substantially equal parenting rights over the applicant, the signature of both parents is required. (e) A person who is under the age of 18 but at least 16 years of age and who is married in accordance with the provisions of this section may petition, without the consent of his or her parents or legal guardian or guardians, for an annulment of that marriage until he or she reaches 18 years of age. (f) Nothing in this section may serve to annul or void a marriage entered into prior to the re-enactment of this statute during the 2023 Regular Session of the Legislature, nor shall it serve to annul or void an otherwise legal marriage entered into in a jurisdiction outside of the State of West Virginia.

Amended HB3018; March 2023


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