What happens if I got married when I was younger than 16 years old?
You were not yet 16 years old when you got married, and right now you are still under 18? Then, your marriage is not valid in Germany. That means it does not count. What does this mean for you?
In Germany, you count as not married. Since you are not yet an adult, there must be someone who takes care of you. This person is responsible for you. Most of the time that is your parents. You are an adult when you are 18. Then, you can make decisions on your own. And you don’t need the permission of your parents anymore.
If you came to Germany with your husband but without your parents, there will be another person taking care of you – until you are 18. This person is your guardian. The guardian can either be a woman or a man. If you want a female guardian, you need to say that very clearly. The state agency that chooses the guardian is the Youth Welfare Office. The Youth Welfare Office is the agency that takes care of children and young people.
The guardian wants you to be happy. The guardian helps, for example, with your housing. In Germany, there is housing only for girls. There you can find caregivers, only women, who speak your language and can help you. The three of you (you, your guardian, and the caregiver) will talk about your life in Germany.
If you were younger than 16 when you got married and you are now already older than 18, then it is a bit more difficult.
- Did you already turn 18 before July 22nd, 2017? Then, your marriage is valid in Germany.
- Did you already turn 18 in your home country? Then, your marriage is valid in Germany.
Did you answer ‘no’ to both questions? And you got married when you were younger than 16? Then, you count as not married in Germany. Important: this is just in Germany; in your home country, you are still married.
Because you already turned 18 years old, the Youth Welfare Office is not automatically responsible for you. The Youth Welfare Office is a state agency that deals with children and young people. You should talk to a counselling center. The women in the counselling center can help you. Here is a list of counselling centers.
It is better to get help instead of hiding your marriage. Nobody will punish you, and you will have a say in what happens.
Are you pregnant? Do you have children? There is also help for you. Continue reading here.
You were 16 or 17 years old when you got married? Continue reading!