MARITAL RIGHTS FOR TEENS: JUDICIAL INTERVENTION THAT PROPERLY BALANCES PRIVACY AND PROTECTION

Abstract

My discussion will address the interplay between the common law origins of a minor's capacity to marry and statutory consent requirements, regardless of whether the female teen is pregnant. Specifically, in Part I, I will briefly describe the status of teen marriage in the United States. Then, in part II, I will summarize the common law origins of marital consent for minors and compare this to various state statutory schemes that have developed over time in America. I will look at the Utah policy on teenage marriage in Part III by examining the state's marriage statute and relevant case law. This will be done by addressing two features of Utah's marriage statutes: (1) the requirement that minors under the age of sixteen complete premarital counseling, unless it is not reasonably available; and (2) the encouragement given to persons under nineteen-years-of-age to obtain premarital counseling. Utah has taken this minority position because "it is the policy of the state of Utah to enhance the possibility of couples to achieve more stable, satisfying and enduring marital and family relationships." The premarital counseling requirement for young teens exists even when the teens have consent of a parent, a legal guardian, or a judge. This law does not preclude marriage for minors when counseling is unavailable or otherwise waived by the court. Thus, this law fulfills the important public policy of providing strong protection for minors, and it does not infringe on their fundamental right to marry. I will not examine annulments, including the distinctions between void and voidable teenage marriages, as it is beyond the purpose of this paper.  
How to Cite
. MARITAL RIGHTS FOR TEENS: JUDICIAL INTERVENTION THAT PROPERLY BALANCES PRIVACY AND PROTECTION. Journal of Law and Family Studies, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 2, dec. 2009. Available at: <http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/jlfs/article/view/238>. Date accessed: 23 nov. 2017.
Section
Monologues and Commentary