If I’m 18 and my girlfriend is 17, can we get married?

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If I’m 18 and my girlfriend is 17, can we get married?

I’m 18, my girlfriend is 17, and we want to get married. We live in Iowa, so she would need parental consent to marry me. We want to get married so she can legally move out of her house father’s house because her stepmom is mentally and emotionally abusive, and her father just pretends like nothing is happening. My girlfriend’s actual mother has joint custody over her. She gets her every other weekend and over the summer. Would we need both my girlfriend’s mother and her father to sign off on the marriage, or could we just use one signature?

Asked on August 25, 2017 under Family Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You sound like you really love her and that you are a great guy trying to help her out of a terrible situation. There is, though, another alternative.  She can, at 17, make her own decisions on where she wishes to live if her Mother would petitoon the court for physical custody.  She can state her case to the Judge - calmly and with examples of the abuse - and state that she wishes to now live with her mother and forge a closer relationship there.  The abuse can not be just rules that she feels are not worthy of being followed like curfew, etc. But even regardless of the abuse, she can now chose to live with her Mom. Marriage seems to be a drastic move for what otherwise may be a better move legally for her.  In answer to your question, though, if parents are divorced the custodial parent must consent to the marriage.  That seems to be the Father here. Good luck. 


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