For other states, the legal minimum age varies considerably. In California, early laws prohibited sexual intercourse with women under the age of 10. under the English Act of 1576. In 1889, California law was amended to raise the age to 14, and the age was raised to 16 in 1897.   Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are the only states where 18 is the legal age to marry. If at least one of the spouses has not reached the general age of marriage, the marriage is considered a minor and may require parental consent and/or court approval. Young people can also marry in “extraordinary circumstances”. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, and its inhabitants are U.S. citizens. In Puerto Rico, the general age of marriage was 21, as it was the age of majority. The general age of marriage in Puerto Rico is 21 or 18 years with parental consent.  In Guam, the general age is 18, but 16-year-olds can marry with the consent of at least one parent or guardian.  In American Samoa, the age of marriage has been 18 for both sexes since September 2018. Previously, the age of marriage for women was 14.
 American Samoa does not allow marriages to minors. In the District of Columbia, the general age is 18, but 16-year-olds can marry with exceptions.  In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the age of marriage is 14 for women and 16 for men.  In the Northern Mariana Islands, men must be 18 years of age in order to marry, while women can marry at the age of 16 with the consent of their parents.  Criminalization can have a number of negative effects. Girls themselves can be punished for failing to report assaults on them. They may face the social stigma, reprisals and psychological distress associated with the detention of family members, and families and communities may be destabilized in cases where all those who have attended a marriage are detained.
The breakdown of child marriage can have a negative social impact on families and children, including stigma and exclusion. Other implications include the economic burdens on families and the complexity of recovering dowry payments and returning the bride`s price; separation of children by girls and custody issues; and the criminalization of consensual sexual relations (and runaways) between adolescents and the imprisonment of consenting adolescents . In many countries, there are legal provisions that allow exceptions to the minimum age of marriage. These gaps can undermine the effectiveness of legal protections for girls against child marriage. This includes, for example, marriage with parental consent or court approval, or where customary or religious laws setting a lower minimum age for marriage take precedence over national legislation. Discover the loopholes that allow marriage under the age of 18 in most U.S. states. Ryan tells stories of women who have been forced into marriage. She says it has been underdeclared and gone unnoticed in the U.S.
for decades. Child marriage is any marriage or informal union in which at least one of the parties is under the age of 18. Forced marriages are marriages in which one or both parties have not personally expressed their full and free consent to the union.  Child marriage is considered a form of forced marriage when one or both parties have not expressed their full, free and informed consent. Those who marry have sex with women. And sex with children is illegal. It is important that every country has a minimum age for marriage, as this legally protects children from abuse, harm, violence and exploitation. Laws to address child marriage should be part of a comprehensive legal and policy framework addressing root causes, including gender inequality. This framework should include issues such as: Although 18 is the minimum age for marriage in most states, there are exceptions in each state that allow children under the age of 18 to marry, usually with parental consent or court approval. Nine states still allow pregnancy exemptions from the age of marriage.
In fact, 27 states do not specify an age below which a child cannot marry, including California! Countries have different legal approaches to child marriage. Some make child marriage a crime, others prohibit or invalidate marriage below the legal minimum age, and others simply prescribe a minimum age for marriage without explicitly criminalizing or prohibiting it. In many countries, although there is not a single law on child marriage, it is regulated by other laws such as civil law, criminal law and family law. .