If a 15 year-old girl gets married, is she considered legally emancipated and able to move to another state?

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If a 15 year-old girl gets married, is she considered legally emancipated and able to move to another state?

I am 15 years-old and my boyfriend is 16. The websites that I’ve looked at say that in SC, with parental consent, a girl at least 14 years old can marry a boy at least 16 years old. If we were married, would we each still have to file for emancipation? My boyfriend wants to move to MA to live with his grandparents. We would not have to pay rent or food and would work to save up for a car. If we got married in SC and moved to MA, would we still be considered married and emancipated in that state?

Asked on March 5, 2011 under Family Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what I can tell, South Carolina does not have a set of emancipation laws on the books and the code that deals with termination of parental rights and age of majority has been repealed.  It is probably in case law and you would need to speak with an attorney there to ask them. Generally speaking, if the laws of one state allow something to occur - like a marriage at such a young age - and the parties are then legally married, if they move to another state it does not make them "unmarried" if the laws of the state to which they moved happen to be different.  States abide by what is known as full faith and credit, meaning that as long as the marriage was in South Carolina it will be recognized as legitimate in Massachusetts, even if under Massachusetts law it would not been allowed.  But remember: you are still not "legal" under many other laws: drinking, voting, etc.  Please get some counseling as to this matter on all levels.  You are making a very serious decision at a very young age.


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