The passage of the new law is seen as a victory for child protection in Pennsylvania. Without the new minimum age, children, usually girls, could be forced into arranged marriages with adult men, with virtually no legal recourse. Child marriage is a global problem. A 2015 report found that 18 is the minimum age of marriage in 88 percent of countries around the world, but 52 percent of countries allow girls to marry before 18 with parental consent. The report also found that about 250 million girls were married before the age of 15. Pennsylvania is the third state, after Delaware and New Jersey, to completely ban child marriage. Over the past 15 years, about 200,000 minors have married. Underage marriages in the United States are not permitted except in exceptional circumstances, including the consent of a clerk or judge, the consent of the minor`s parents or guardians, if one of the parties is pregnant or has given birth to a child, or if the minor is emancipated. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware do not allow underage marriage in exceptional circumstances. According to U.S.
marriage license data analyzed by Unchained, approximately 248,000 children aged 12 and older were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. An overwhelming majority of them were women. If at least one of the spouses has not yet reached the general age of marriage, the marriage is considered a minor. Six states completely ban underage marriage: Delaware, New Jersey, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New York. Other states may require the minor partner to obtain either parental consent, judicial authorization, or both, or to invoke “extraordinary circumstances.” The minimum age of marriage for minors, when all extenuating circumstances are taken into account, is generally between 15 and 17 years, but may be lower in California and Massachusetts. Nine states do not allow a person over the age of 21 to marry a minor. In the United States, the age of marriage is determined by each state and territory, either by common law or by individual laws.
The minimum age of marriage is intended to prevent child marriage. A person in the United States can marry without parental consent at the age of 18 in all states except Nebraska, where the age is 19. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday signed House Bill 360, which sets 18 as the minimum age for obtaining a marriage license without parental consent. Pennsylvania is only the third state, after Delaware and New Jersey, to restrict child marriage. Child marriage is taking place at an alarming rate in the United States Delaware, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey do not allow underage marriage. The other states allow a minor to marry under the following circumstances: Despite the absence of love stories between Romeo and Juliet, people might wonder what happens when a person under the age of eighteen marries in Pennsylvania without their parents` permission. Obviously, this is settled by the fact that you must provide basic information, including dates of birth, to apply for a marriage license in Pennsylvania.
However, if you manage to marry a fourteen-year-old child in Pennsylvania, your marriage is invalid from the start. This means that your marriage is void from the start and there is no need to initiate nullity or divorce proceedings. As far as the state is concerned, it is as if these marriages never took place. However, it becomes complicated when people believe they are married, acquire assets, and have children. In such cases, it may be necessary to discuss the effects of a void marriage on custody and equitable distribution with a lawyer. While the tradition of child marriage has declined significantly in Western cultures, it persists in some Asian and African cultures. As immigration from those areas to Pennsylvania continues, it has become a problem here as well. Both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature should be commended for unanimously approving HB 360 and Governor Wolf for quickly signing the bill. The Pennsylvania legislature voted unanimously to approve the ban last, and Wolf signed it into law as part of House Bill 360, which established 18 as the minimum age for obtaining a marriage license. Before the ban, an applicant under the age of 16 could obtain a marriage license with court approval, and those between the ages of 16 and 18 could obtain one with parental consent, reports WKBN, affiliated with CBS News Pennsylvania. English common law applied in all jurisdictions in the United States, unless a state law replaced or modified it. In the United States, particularly in recent years, the general age of marriage has been revised downwards to between 18 and 21.
 Although most states set the minimum age of marriage at 18, exceptions in 47 states allow children under 18 to marry, according to Unchained At Last, an organization that campaigns to end forced and child marriage. In many states (but not Massachusetts), the marriage of a minor automatically emancipates him or increases his or her legal rights beyond the minor`s permission to consent to certain medical treatments.  Note: State laws are constantly changing: Contact a Pennsylvania family law attorney or do your own legal research to review the state laws you`ve been looking for.