Lawmakers in several states, including New Jersey, are currently dealing with an important family law issue: how to stop child marriages.
Now Virginia could start a trend across the nation after VA Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation to make these kinds of child marriages against the law. Under the old law, Virginia allowed a marriage clerk to approve a 13-year-old’s marriage to an adult, so long as the child was pregnant and had received parental consent.
Marlene Hartz, a spokeswoman for Tahirih Justice Center, a legal advocacy group that assists survivors of domestic violence and that has been fighting to repeal child marriage laws across the country, observed the backward nature of laws that justify child marriages in cases of child pregnancy. This is precisely the sort of thing that “should trigger alarm bells, not wedding bells,” said Hartz.
Child Marriages in New Jersey
The problem of child marriages is particularly bad in New Jersey. Over a 17-year period, nearly 3,500 children got married in the Garden State. The majority of the children in these marriages were either 16 or 17 years old. However, 178 of the children were under 15 years of age, with some as young as 10 years old. Moreover, 91 percent of all children in these child marriages got married to adults. In one instance, a 12-year-old girl married a 25-year-old man, while another marriage saw a 10-year-old boy get married to an 18-year-old woman.
New Jersey recently introduced legislation to protect children against victimization by outlawing child marriages throughout the state. However, the NJ State Assembly has yet to bring the matter up for a vote.
For further information, view the BusinessInsider.com article, “Several States Are Trying to Outlaw a Taboo Marriage Practice.”
If you are dealing with a family law matter, whether it’s a divorce or some other issue, you should speak with a qualified family law and divorce attorney. The successful divorce and family law lawyers at Graziano & Flynn, P.C. have decades of experience helping clients in New Jersey. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.