Permission to celebrate marriages of minors
In Colombia the civil law authorizes the marriage of minors for both men and women from the age of 14 as long as they have the permission of their parents, that is enshrined in the law 1306 of 2009.
This right was understood to be equally applicable to the de facto marital union. However, in the year 2021, the Supreme Court of Justice stated that in these cases the permission of the parents is not a requirement to form the union and the patrimonial partnership.
It is important to mention that this permission is not a requirement for the existence or validity of the marriage, it is simply required to avoid certain consequences such as the possibility of revoking donations made prior to the marriage.
In addition, not having permission cannot deprive a child of his or her right to child support.
The characteristics of the Permit to Celebrate the Marriage of Minors are as follows
- Must be express.
- It must be in writing, addressed to the official who is going to celebrate the marriage.
- It must be special, i.e., it must be indicated as being for the purpose of marriage.
- It must be nominal.
- It must be prior to the celebration of the marriage.
- It is revocable, but if so, there must be justification.
Permission to celebrate the marriage of minors must be requested and granted in the first place by the parents of blood or adopted, regarding foster parents the law makes no reference, if the parents are absent, the permission must be granted by the ascendants. In the absence of ascendants, the general guardian and, finally, the special guardian must be appointed.
In the case of parents and ascendants, the refusal of permission does not have to be justified, but the guardian, whether general or special, must do so in accordance with the following reasons set forth in Article 122 of the Civil Code:
- Existence of any legal impediment
- Failure to take any of the steps prescribed in Title 8. of the second marriage, if any.
- Serious danger to the health of the minor to whom the license is denied, or of the offspring.
- Licentious life, immoderate passion for gambling, habitual drunkenness of the person whom the minor wishes to marry.
- That person is suffering the penalty of imprisonment.
- Neither of the spouses has current means for the competent performance of the obligations of marriage.
Finally, it is important to mention that Colombia is one of the few countries in the region where minors can get married and according to The Observatory ‘Counting the Invisible’ of Fundación PLAN, showed based on 2018 data that in the country there are 46,915 marriages and unions involving minors between 10 and 14 years old: 54% of the cases are girls, while 46% are boys.