Young Persons Getting Married

The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on legal issues within the Province of Alberta. The purpose of this topic is to inform you 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 18 years of age.

Age of Majority 

The age of majority in Alberta is 18 years of age. Once a person reaches 18 years of age, they are considered an adult.

Marriage of a Person under the Age of 18

Once a person is over 18 years of age, they may get married without anyone’s permission.  If you are under the age of 18, you are required to have written permission to marry and the consent of your parents or guardians.

If your parents or guardians refuse to give their consent, you may make an application to the Court to dispense with their consent. This application will only be granted in certain situations. For example, if guardians are being unreasonable in giving refusing to give their consent.

Eloping

‘Eloping’ means that a couple marries in secret, without their family and friend’s knowledge. If a person under the age of 18 elopes, their parents can ask to have the marriage voided. If a marriage is ‘voided’, this means that the marriage never happened. Importantly, 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.

Pregnancy or Children and Marriage of a Person under the Age of 18

If you are under the age of 18 and pregnant, or a parent, you may apply to the Court to dispense with your guardian’s consent for marriage. The application will only be granted in certain situations.

Note guardians cannot force you to marry, give up your child for adoption or assume guardianship of the child.

Financial Support of a Child

If you are a parent under the age of 18 you are held responsible for the financial support of your child. Your financial responsibility begins during the pregnancy. Prenatal care, birth expenses, and other 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.

Father of a Child and Financial Support of a Child

A claim may be brought in Court against a father who disputes they are the father of a child. In order to be successful in a claim, the other parent must provide evidence such as medical tests to the Court. Evidence can include medical or paternity tests.

If you are proven to be the father of a child by the Court, child support payments must be made until the child reaches the age of 18 years. In some circumstances you may be required to pay after the child reaches 18 years of age.

Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.