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  • Writer's pictureAustin & Carnley Solicitors

What is the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022?

Updated: Feb 26

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 has recently come into effect, which means that it is now illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to enter into marriage or civil partnership in the UK. The Act has been introduced to protect young people from forced marriages and to ensure that they have the opportunity to make their own choices about their future.



What is the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022?


The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 is a new law that has been introduced to raise the minimum age for marriage and civil partnership to 18 years of age. This means that anyone who is under 18 is not legally allowed to get married or enter into a civil partnership, even with the consent of their parents or guardians.


Why was the Act introduced?



The Act was introduced to protect young people from forced marriages and to ensure that they have the opportunity to make their own choices about their future. Forced marriages can have devastating consequences for young people, including physical and emotional abuse, and can leave them feeling isolated and trapped.


The Act is part of a wider effort to tackle forced marriage and to promote gender equality in the UK. It is hoped that by raising the minimum age for marriage and civil partnership, young people will have more time to develop their education, career, and personal goals before making such an important decision.


What are the implications of the Act?


The implications of the Act are significant. Anyone who is under the age of 18 is now prohibited from getting married or entering into a civil partnership, even with the consent of their parents or guardians. This means that anyone who attempts to force a young person into marriage or civil partnership could face criminal charges.


The Act also has implications for immigration law. Previously, foreign nationals who were under the age of 18 were allowed to enter into marriage or civil partnership in the UK. However, under the new law, this is no longer allowed, which means that anyone who attempts to enter into a marriage or civil partnership with a foreign national under the age of 18 could face criminal charges.



What are the exceptions to the Act?


There are a few exceptions to the Act. In some cases, young people who are under the age of 18 may be allowed to get married or enter into a civil partnership if they have obtained a court order. This may be granted if the court is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances that justify the marriage or civil partnership.


Conclusion:


The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 is a significant step forward in the fight against forced marriage and the promotion of gender equality in the UK. By raising the minimum age for marriage and civil partnership to 18, young people will have more time to develop their education, career, and personal goals before making such an important decision. The Act also sends a clear message that forced marriage is not acceptable and that those who attempt to force young people into marriage or civil partnership will face criminal charges.

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