Marriage and the law

Marriage is the legal union of two people who wish to share their lives together and is an important landmark in the lives of those who wish to partake in it. This section provides information for those planning to get married and those who are married already.

Basic marriage law

Basic marriage law states that:

  • It is illegal to force anyone to marry against their wishes.
  • A person must be at least 16 years old and if under 18 must have their parents' consent to marry.
  • Prospective partners must not already be married and can't be too closely related.
  • Marriages involving under-16s are illegal and will be invalid.
  • At least two witnesses must sign the register on the day of the wedding.
  • A woman is not required by law to change her surname; it is a personal choice.

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