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My girlfriend is pregnant. I'm 16. I want to marry her but my legal guardians said they wont let me.

Discussion in 'Emancipation Law' started by Zac Ramer, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Ok I will say this with all due respect to you with no malice intended. I have been around many decades (yes im old) I have raised my 5 (now adult) children as well as spoken to many many young people about issues similar to yours. Most of all you make too many assumptions. You may know a lot but until you have lived it your a novice. Your plans NEVER work out as planned. Your BEST option is to find some trusted adults and ask advice. They have lived life and have experience. They are best people to help you make decisions that will impact you for life!
     
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  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Section 51-2 says that a person over 16 and under 18 may marry only with written consent of parents/guardians. I agree that this is unlikely to be interpreted to include only persons who have turned 17 (although it's inartfully worded).

    Section 51-2.1(a) says that an unmarried girl "who is more than 14 years of age, but less than 16 years of age," who is pregnant or has given birth, and the putative father (i.e., someone whose paternity has not actually been established but who is alleged to be or claims he may be the child's father) may marry if they obtain a court order allowing it. The order will only be issued if the court determines "the marriage will serve the best interest of an underage party" based on a number of considerations, including the opinions of the parents/guardians.

    Putting aside any issues relating to the interpretation of the applicable age ranges, these laws allow a court to issue an order allowing a marriage for certain persons, despite the objections of parents/guardians, but does not allow for such an order for older persons. It's a bit of an odd scheme -- especially the part that allows for this to happen while the underage mother is still pregnant based solely on the husband-to-be's status as a putative father.

    Again, the OP has posted nothing that would make me think he might get the necessary court order/permission to marry. However, I agree with "Tax Counsel" that it's impossible for those of us who are not family law attorneys in North Carolina to predict intelligently what some judge in Unknown County, North Carolina might do -- especially since the two statutes mentioned evidence a clear public policy in favor of kids having married parents.
     
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  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    That is not how age is generally regarded as I think you know. You are age 16 from the day you turn 16 until the day you turn 17. When asked your age you don't say, for example, "I'm over age 16 and under age 17" the day after your 16th birthday. You say "I'm 16." Legislation is generally interpreted using the common meaning for words and phrases unless an alternative meaning is clearly expressed or intended.

    Because of that the statute as drafted is ambiguous as I think that not what he legislature intended. Even if a NC court would buy your argument, it's still a lack of attention to detail by the legislators as it leaves out those who on their 16th birthday. I used to draft regulations and review proposed legislation when at the government and it is these kinds of details that good legislation drafting will deal with.
     
  5. shadowbunny

    shadowbunny Member

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    So based on your assumption that you'll clear $500 a week, that's $2k per month, and only $24,000 a year. According to these estimates, 2 "adults" and one child have a requirement of $48,000 per year to meet living expenses. So tell me -- how are you going to afford this?

    Living Wage Calculator - Living Wage Calculation for North Carolina
     
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  6. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    One thing I'd like to point ot
    He's relying on the 15-year-old's daddy.
     
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  7. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with TM's argument of the "legislature" screwed up. "Over 16" here doesn't mean 17 and above, it means having attained at least their 18th birthday. Once you are one second over the age of 16, you are over the age of 16.
     
  8. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Are you in North Carolina? And if so, have you a citation to where that is explained? Understand that not all jurisdictions would view it that way even if your state does. Based on the common way we speak of age the language in the statute is odd as we don't speak of age the way you described, as I explained in my earlier reply to Jack. So unless there is some case law or other authority in NC that says the language is interpreted as you stated I would still stand by my statement that the language is unclear. Certainly I believe, as I've already said, that my reading of the statute is not what the legislature would have intended, but it may at least present an issue that the court needs to resolve.

    In any event, even if you are correct, the legislature still did a poor job with the statutes. As I said, it does not make any sense to me to give minors ages 14-15 who have a child the right to go to court to get an order allowing them to marry but to deny minors age 16+ in that same situation that same opportunity.
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am in North Carolina. Even if you adopt your interpretation, the case law (Pine Knoll Shores v. Evans, Harris v. Matthews, for example) states that such unintentional errors are with the intent of the legislature.
     
  10. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am in North Carolina. Even if you adopt your interpretation, the case law (Pine Knoll Shores v. Evans, Harris v. Matthews, for example) states that such unintentional errors are with the intent of the legislature.
     
  11. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Boys, boys. If we cannot agree on interpretation of the statutes, can we at least agree that our young friend here is unlikely (I will adopt Tax's caution and not say unable) to qualify for emancipation and marriage under any interpretation?
     
  12. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    You didn't need to say it twice. ;)

    I agree that the court would look to the legislature's intent when drafting the statute in interpreting it, and as I alluded to before, it may well be that the court would decide that the legislature meant to include 16 year-olds in the rule that allows them to marry with parental consent, just like 17 year-olds. But in my view the drafting of it is not as clear as it should be and thus raises an issue that could be litigated. In the states I'm familiar with the term "over 16" would generally mean age 17 and above; not one second past the 16th birthday. That interpretation follows the way we generally speak of age in general discourse. If NC follows the rule you indicate, I'd still like to see the citation saying that as it strikes me as contrary to the usual way we talk about age. The explanation for that would be interesting to see.
     
  13. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    Why would you plan to have a child as a teenager? The person on Justia was right -- you were irresponsible. Both of you.

    No one considers children "illegitimate" anymore if they are born out of marriage. It's 2020...not 1920.

    You can be a father and take care of a child as a teenager without marrying the other parent. It's not going to be easy but if you truly want to be a parent, you'll figure it out. But guess what - parenting is hard no matter how old you are. I had my daughter at 32 - and it was hard. Especially with the fact she's had medical issues since 6 weeks old.

    Someone else already told you the law in your state for underage marriages. Doesn't sound like you'll get married until you're 18 if you still want to by then. You need to do what you can that will benefit you and allow you to take care of your kid.
     
  14. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    That means nothing for emancipation.
     

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