Marriage in Germany
Marriage is an important event in a person’s life. This is why all countries have a minimum legal age for marriage: often 18 years of age. But many people – mostly women – are younger than 18 when they get married. Maybe you too? There are many reasons to get married, when you are still 15 or 16, or even earlier.
- Did your parents choose a husband for you, because that is the tradition in your home country?
- Did you flee from your home country and did you decide (with your parents) that a marriage means better protection for you?
- Was your marriage important to help your family financially?
- Were you forced to get married or were you not allowed to say ‘no’? To be ‘forced’ means that you have to do something.
- Are you not yet 18 years old, and your parents are planning a marriage for you?
- Are you not yet 18 years old, but you want to marry your boyfriend?
If your answer is ‘YES’ to one of the questions above, continue reading!
The information is important for you.
Laws in Germany
Counselling centers in Germany
In Germany, there are counselling centers for girls and women, who got married early or who were forced to get married. The women who work there know how to help you. They are on your side. They can also give you advice anonymously. That means that you do not have to tell them your name.
They also speak a lot of languages, if you do not understand German very well. Or an interpreter will help. This is a woman who speaks a lot of languages, also yours. You have the right to get help.
Here is a list of a few counselling centers for you.
The rights of the child in Germany
Why is there this new law? This is very simple: the law was made for you and all the other children and young people. The rights of the child are very important in Germany. Children have their own rights. Those rights are sometimes more important than those of their parents. This means that your parents cannot make all decisions about you. For example, they cannot decide who you get married to. Especially not, if you are under 18 years old.
The German society is worried about marriages under 18 years of age. This is because suddenly, you are in the role of an adult. This means that you have many duties and things to do. This can be too much sometimes.
Remember: all children should have the opportunity to play and to develop freely. And to go to school, of course. In Germany, children and young people have the duty to go to school, even if they were not born here.
School teachers are there to make sure that you are okay. They help you. You can talk to them, if you are worried or have problems.
If you have big problems at home (like violence), the police will help and protect you. Just like the Youth Welfare Office. They are there especially for children and young people.
TERRE DES FEMMES
TERRE DES FEMMES is a human rights organization for girls and women. It was founded in 1981. We support girls and women by raising public awareness about violence against them. Then nobody can say they did not know about it. We ask politicians to make laws to protect girls and women from violence.
We organize projects that make girls and women stronger and tell them about their rights. We also support projects for women in other countries. We are politically independent and are not a state agency. Our goal is to make things better for girls and women.