Your Decision

Getting Married or Not…?

From What Age Can You Get Married?

Everyone has the right to freely decide who they marry. This applies to anyone, regardless of their origin, gender, religion, skin colour and age. It is not permitted to make someone get married against their will.

In Germany a couple can only get married when both parties are of age (§ 1303 BGB). This age restriction was introduced to protect minors. This is aimed at preventing so-called “child marriages”. Marriages already entered into by 16 to 18 year olds are annulled by a judge, i.e. the marriage is made invalid.
However, in special cases of hardship an exception can be made. This age limit also applies to marriages entered into abroad. If a marriage is annulled, no advantages or disadvantages in terms of asylum and right of residence are to be feared. To this end, the law has regulated corresponding changes in the right of asylum and residence.

For minors a so-called “Vortrauungsverbot” (ban on forced/arranged marriages of convenience) has been introduced. This means minors cannot get engaged or married as part of a religious or traditional ceremony/ritual. Participants and witnesses can be prosecuted with fines of up to € 5000 under § 11 Absatz 2 PstG (Paragraph 11, Section 2 of the Civil Status Act or “Personenstandsgesetz”) in conjunction with § 70 PstG (Paragraph 70 of the same act).

It is also an offence if someone wishes to marry you against your will (§ 237 StGB). You can oppose this. This is generally hard to do on your own so place your trust in someone! Your teacher*, school social worker* or counsellor* at help centres are good first ports of call. There are also many help centres that assist girls* threatened with forced marriages.