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Spain prohibits marriage for those aged under 16

Since the entry into force of the new “Ley de Jurisdicción voluntaria, Ley 15/2015” (Voluntary Legal proceedings Law), from July 23, 2015, people aged under 16 will not be able to get married in Spain any longer.

There is a modification of the article 48 of the Spanish Civil Code to the abovementioned Law, eliminating the preexistent possibility to avoid the legal age impediment for marriage for the people who are older than 14 years old and were emancipated, through a judicial authorization and “under a just cause and at the request of the party involved”.

Therefore from the July 23, 2015 only those who are aged 16 and over and are emancipated that have the legal right to get married.  This measure widens the framework of protection for the young people in Spain, enhancing the coherence of the national legislation with the application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It should also be noted that, in this respect, the measure has been accompanied by the also recently passed Penal Code reform, which increased the minimum age for an agreed sexual relation from 13 to 16.

Moreover, this measure came into force to create an added impediment to avoid certain practices, abuses, facilitating the fight against Paedophilia and forced marriages that, although rarely seen, have an enormous impact on individuals, particularly the young ones.

Since the beginning of the Spanish democracy the age required to get married has been constantly increased, and therefore, cases involving minors marriages are less and less frequent, but the legal reform became something necessary as Spain had the lowest minimum age for marriage in the whole of the European Union.

The average legal minimum age to get married in the European Union is 16 years. There are some countries, as Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia with a minimum age of 15, and on the other hand, other countries like France and Romania are more strict on this matter as you have to be aged 18 or over to be eligible to get married.