Consent to Marry
What is Marriage Consent?
In California, anyone under the age of 18 who wishes to get married has to meet specific requirements set by law. California is one of the few states that allow minors to get married at any age, as long as they obtain parental consent. However, this does not mean that young children will be allowed to get married, since a judge will also need to grant approval.
Why is the Probation Department Involved in an Application for Marriage Consent?
During the marriage consent process, a marriage consent investigation report is written that must be submitted to the Court. The Probation Department will arrange for an interview, prepare the report with recommendation and order for consideration by the Court.
What will the Probation Department require of me?
California Family Code Section 302, provides that in addition to consent of your parents/guardians for you to marry, you must also obtain an Order of the Superior Court if you are under the age of 18 years. Section 304 of the Family Code further provides the Court may require persons under the age 18 years to participate in premarital counseling concerning social, economic, and personal responsibilities incident to marriage.
A minimum of four (4) hour of premarital counseling is required for every couple where at least one-person is a minor (under 18 year of age). Counseling is acceptable from an ordained religious leader (i.e. Minister, Priest, Rabbi) or professional marriage family counselor. Arrangement for this counseling must be made by the applicant. Any fees imposed for counseling will be the responsibility of the applicant.
Upon completion of the required counseling, it is required that the counselor complete and mail a completed “Counselor Statement” with their evaluation, either recommending for or against the marriage, to the Probation Department.
In order to facilitate the Probation Officer’s investigation of your application and to avoid unnecessary delays, the following documents and information is needed to proceed with your application.
- Both parties to the marriage
- At least one (1) parent of each applicant who is under 18 years of age
- Signed “Parental Consent to Marry” from the parent/legal guardian of the applicant who is under the age of 18 giving permission for the applicant to marry the other party
- Applicant’s proof of age (birth certificate)
- Photo identification of both parties to the marriage and the accompanying parent(s)/legal guardian.
- Completed Application for Consent to Marry
Once the necessary information is obtained, please schedule an appointment by calling the Merced County Probation Department at (209) 385-7494 or coming by the office located at 1880 Wardrobe Avenue, Merced, CA 95341.
If you have any specific questions regarding the Application for Marriage Consent process, please contact the Merced County Probation Department at (209) 385-7494.