WEST virginia legislature
2022 regular session
Senate Bill 224
By Senators Trump, Lindsay, Woelfel, and Caputo
[Introduced January 12, 2022;
to the Committee on the Judiciary]
A BILL to amend and reenact §48-2-301 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to establishing that 18 is the age of consent; and removing the ability of an underage person to obtaining a consent to marry through their parents, legal guardians, or by petition to the circuit court.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 2. MARRIAGES.
PART 3. CAPACITY TO MARRY.
§48-2-301. Age of consent for marriage; exception.
(a) The age of consent for
marriage for both the male and the female is 18 years of age. A person under
the age of 18 lacks the capacity to contract a marriage.
without the consent
required by this section (b) The clerk of the
county commission may issue a marriage license to an applicant who is under the
age of eighteen but sixteen years of age or older if the clerk obtains a valid
written consent from the applicant's parents or legal guardian. (c) Upon order of a
circuit judge, the clerk of the county commission may issue a marriage license
to an applicant who is under the age of sixteen, if the clerk obtains a valid
written consent from the applicant's parents or legal guardian. A circuit judge
of the county in which the application for a marriage license is filed may
order the clerk of the county commission to issue a license to an applicant
under the age of sixteen if, in the court's discretion, the issuance of a
license is in the best interest of the applicant and if consent is given by the
parents or guardian. (d) A consent to marry
must be duly acknowledged before an officer authorized to acknowledge a deed.
If the parents are living together at the time the application for a marriage
license is made and the consent is given, the signatures of both parents or the
applicant's legal guardian is required. If one parent is dead, the signature of
the surviving parent or the applicant's legal guardian is required. If both
parents are dead, the signature of the applicant's legal guardian is required.
If the parents of the applicant are living separate and apart, the signature of
the parent having custody of the applicant or the applicant's legal guardian is
required (e) (b) If a person under the age of consent is
married in violation of this section, the marriage is not void for this reason,
and such marriage is valid until it is actually annulled. (f) (c) A marriage by an underage person, without
a valid consent as required by this section though voidable at the time it
is entered into, may be ratified and become completely valid and binding when
the underage party reaches the age of consent. Validation of a marriage by
ratification is established by some unequivocal and voluntary act, statement,
or course of conduct after reaching the age of consent. Ratification includes,
but is not limited to, continued cohabitation as husband and wife after the age
of consent is attained.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit a person under the age of 18 from entering into a marriage.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.