The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide only general information on legal issues within the province of Alberta. This service is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation. The purpose is to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic discusses marriage of young persons under the age of 18 years.
The age of majority in Alberta is 18 years of age. When you reach 18 years of age, you are considered an adult. You may get married without anyone’s permission when you are an adult.
If you are under 18 years of age, you require written permission to marry. You require the consent of your guardians. Usually your guardians are your parents. An application may be made to the Court to dispense with their consent in some situations. For example, guardians may be unreasonable in giving their consent.
If you are pregnant or have already had the child, you may apply to the Court to dispense with your guardians consent. Your guardians cannot force you to marry, give up your child for adoption or assume guardianship of the child.
If you are under the age of 18 and are a parent you are still held responsible for the financial support of your child. The financial responsibility begins with the pregnancy. Prenatal care, birth expenses, and other reasonable medical expenses must be paid for by both parents. Sometimes one parent cannot be located and the other parent must assume sole responsibility for the child. There are numerous counseling and social service agencies available to assist you in such circumstances.
A claim may be brought against fathers who dispute they are the father of a child. Evidence such as medical tests must be provided to the Court. If you are proven to be the father of a child by the Courts, child support payments must be made until the child reaches the age of 18 years. In some circumstances you may be required to pay beyond the 18 years of age.
If you run away to get married, elope, then your parents can ask to have your marriage voided. If this happens it means that the marriage never happened. However, if you and the person you married had sexual intercourse before or after the marriage ceremony or lived together after the marriage ceremony, the marriage cannot be voided.