The UK has introduced new regulations to combat underage marriage through the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022, effectively banning child marriage in the country.
The Act, applicable in England and Wales, now prohibits 16- and 17-year-olds from marrying or entering civil partnerships, even with parental consent.
This law encompasses all religious and civil marriages, including those performed in non-legally binding places of worship.
Arranging marriages for vulnerable children, with or without the use of force, is now a criminal offense punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Minister for Safeguarding, Sarah Dines MP, commented on the new legislation, emphasizing that forced marriage is a human rights abuse and that the government is committed to eradicating this exploitative practice.
Some experts predict that the ban on marriage for under 18s may lead to an increase in the number of young people cohabiting.
However, it is crucial to recognize that cohabiting couples have fewer legal protections should their relationship end.
Cohabiting couples can take measures to safeguard their financial well-being and assets, such as establishing a cohabitation agreement.
For more information on how a cohabitation agreement can protect you in the event of a relationship breakdown or issues related to marriage or divorce, please speak to us.