What are the "Minimum Age Marriage Laws" in Nevada?

Nevada, Las Vegas in particular, is often known as being a hotbed for marriage ceremonies. Chapels can be seen on just about every corner or inside most Las Vegas strip casino/resorts, solidifying Nevada's marriage reputation.  The reasoning is mostly due to Nevada's relaxed take on the requirements needed to obtain a marriage license.  So what exactly are Nevada's laws, regulations and requirements, regarding marriage?

Before covering what Nevada requires in order to obtain a marriage license, it is important to note what it does not.  Nevada does not require marriage license applicants to submit to a blood test or participate in a state-mandated waiting period.  Further, Nevada also offers many licensed bureaus that are open for business 24 hours per day, making marriage license extremely accessible.

What is the age requirement for marriage in Nevada?

For a marriage to be valid in Nevada, the law requires that both parties must appear in person before a Clerk at a Clark County marriage bureau location.  The applicants standing before the Clerk must be two people and be of at least 18 years of age.  Further, the applicants must be no closer in relation than second cousins and not have a current husband or wife that are living.

A person 17 years old may marry only if the person has the consent of either parent or legal guardian and after the court holds an evidentiary hearing that finds marriage is in the minor's best interests. The court will consider:

  • The difference in age between the parties to the prospective marriage;
  • The need for the marriage to occur before the minor reaches 18 years of age; and
  • The emotional and intellectual maturity of the minor

Pregnancy alone does not establish that the best interests of such person will be served by marriage, nor may pregnancy be required by a court as a condition necessary for its authorization for the marriage of such person.

Nevada's marriage and divorce rates exceeded the national average in 2009 and tend to be married for fewer years than the national average. Part of the reason may be tied to the fact that, as mentioned, Nevada is lax on requirements for marriage and so less thought goes into the meaning and commitment that stands behind the easy to obtain a license.

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