TN 2 (07-09)
PR 05205.052 Virginia
A. PR 10-083 Validity of Underage Marriages Performed in North Carolina Under Virginia Law Number Holder – Fred V. P~; Claimant – Billie S. G~; SSN: ~ Number Holder – Clyde S~; Claimant – Shelvey J. S~; SSN: ~
DATE: April 8, 2010
On the limited issue of whether the application of POMS section GN 00305.005(B)(1), which states that the validity of a marriage is ordinarily determined by the law of the place where it occurred, would be appropriate in this case, we believe that a Virginia court would apply the law of North Carolina in accordance with the policy in that POMS section and find the underage marriages were valid because at the time these marriages were entered into they did not violate Virginia law or public policy
Based upon the advice you received from Region IV on March 8, 2010, indicating that the S~ and P~ underage marriages were valid under North Carolina law, you requested our opinion on whether you could apply Program Operations Manual System (POMS) section GN 00305.005(B)(1) to determine the validity of the S~ and P~ marriages.
Because the P~ and S~ marriages in North Carolina did not violate the law or public policy of Virginia, we believe that it is appropriate to apply North Carolina law in determining whether these marriages were valid in accordance with the policy in POMS section GN 00305.005(B)(1).
You have asked for our advice on the limited issue of whether the application of POMS section GN 00305.005(B)(1), which states that the validity of a marriage is ordinarily determined by the law of the place where it occurred, would be appropriate in this case. You have previously received advice from Region IV indicating that the underage marriages of these claimants were valid under North Carolina law. For the issue you have presented to us, the pertinent facts are as follows:
• Claimant Billie S~ married NH P~ on July 16, 1960. S~ admitted that she ran away to North Carolina to get married because she was only 17 at the time of the marriage. NH P~ was a resident of Virginia at the time of his death. S~ married Wayne E. G~ on December 23, 1979, and will hereinafter be referred to as Claimant G~.
• Claimant Shelvey J. S~ married NH Clyde S~ on April 3, 1964, in North Carolina. According to Shelvey’s date of birth on her application for widow’s benefits, she would have been 15 at the time of the marriage. Although she alleged that she had parental consent to marry, she has no proof because the records were allegedly destroyed after five years. NH S~ was a resident of Virginia at the time of his death.
We recognize that our opinion on the application of Virginia law and Region IV’s opinion on the issue of whether the marriages were valid under North Carolina law are both necessary to adjudicate these claims. Therefore, in the interest of completeness, we have included or summarized the relevant portions of Region IV’s opinion below to consolidate the advice into one opinion.
BACKGROUND REGARDING WHETHER THE P~ MARRIAGE WAS VALID UNDER NORTH CAROLINA LAW
Claimant G~ and Fred V. P~, the number holder (NH), were ceremonially married on July 16, 1960, in North Carolina. The marriage license and certificate indicate Claimant G~ was 18 at the time of her marriage, but Claimant G~ admits she and NH ran away to get married and she was only 17 at the time. Claimant G~ reported that children were born during the marriage. She obtained a judgment granting her a divorce from NH on January 11, 1978, in North Carolina. In granting the divorce, the judge found that Claimant G~ and NH were lawfully married. NH died on September 11, 2009, and was a resident of Virginia at the time of his death.
Claimant G~ married Wayne E. G~ on December 23, 1979, in Virginia. That marriage ended with Mr. G~’s death on May 10, 1990. Claimant G~ currently receives widow’s insurance benefits on Mr. G~’s record, and is now seeking divorced widow’s insurance benefits on the NH’s record because the benefit amount would be higher.
DISCUSSION OF WHETHER THE P~ MARRIAGE WAS VALID UNDER NORTH CAROLINA LAW
Under the Social Security Act (Act) Section 202(e)(1), 42 U.S.C. § 402(e)(1), a claimant may be eligible for widow’s insurance benefits if she is the “surviving divorced wife” of an individual who died fully-insured. See also 20 C.F.R. § 404.336 (2009). “Surviving divorced wife” means “a woman divorced from an individual who has died, but only if she had been married to the individual for a period of 10 years immediately before the date the divorce became effective.” Act § 216(d)(2), 42 U.S.C. § 416(d)(2); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.336(a). Claimant G~’s alleged marriage to NH lasted for more than ten years immediately prior to the day of the divorce judgment. Therefore, if Claimant G~ and NH were validly married, Claimant G~ would be NH’s “surviving divorced spouse” for the purposes of widow’s insurance benefits. See Act §§ 202(e)(1), 216(d)(2); 20 C.F.R. § 404.335(a).
According to the information provided, Claimant G~ and NH participated in a marriage ceremony and were divorced in North Carolina. NH resided in Virginia at the time of his death. The POMS explains that a divorce presupposes that the marriage terminated by that divorce was a valid marriage; thus, proof of divorce usually constitutes evidence of the validity of the divorced spouses’ marriage. See POMS RS 00202.075(A)(2)(a). However, proof of validity of the marriage is required when “information raises a reasonable doubt of the validity of the marriage.” See POMS RS 00202.075(A)(2)(b).
Under North Carolina law, a valid marriage is created by the consent of a male and female person “who may lawfully marry” to take each other as husband and wife expressed in the presence of each other and in the presence of a minister or a magistrate, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination or Indian Nation or Tribe. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1 (2009); see also N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-6 (2009) (solemnization without marriage license unlawful; at least two witnesses to marriage ceremony required). North Carolina law provides that all marriages “between a male person under 16 years of age and any female, or between a female person under 16 years of age and any male . . . shall be void.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-3 (2009). However, “[n]o marriage followed by co-habitation and the birth of issue shall be declared void after the death of either of the parties for any of the causes stated in this section except for bigamy,” and “[n]o marriage by persons either of whom may be under 16 years of age, and otherwise competent to marry, shall be declared void . . . when a child shall have been born to the parties unless such child at the time of the action to annul shall be dead.” Id. Given these exceptions, the Supreme Court of North Carolina has held that “the word ‘void,’ used in the statute, will be construed to mean ‘voidable,’ thus rendering the marriage valid until it has been declared void by a court of competent jurisdiction in an action directly attacking the validity of the marriage.” Ivery v. Ivery, 129 S.E.2d 457, 462 (N.C. 1963); see also Fulton v. Vickery, 326 S.E.2d 354, 358 (N.C. Ct. App. 1985) (“only bigamous marriages have thus far been declared absolutely void”); N.C. Op. Att’y Gen. Op., 2001 WL 1712684, at *1 (Oct. 9, 2001) (advisory opinion noting that pursuant to § 51-3 underage marriages are merely voidable).
Furthermore, the Supreme Court of North Carolina has held that where a marriage is voidable because one of the parties was underage at the time of the marriage, the “marriage may be ratified by the subsequent conduct of the parties in recognition of the marriage.” Ivery, 129 S.E.2d at 462. In other words, the parties may ratify the marriage by living together after the underage participant reached the age of consent. See Sawyer v. Slack, 146 S.E. 864, 865 (N.C. 1929); see also N.C. Op. Att’y Gen. Op., 2001 WL 1712684, at *1 (questioning whether underage marriages can be declared invalid when ratified by cohabitation after the underage participant reached the age of consent). Under North Carolina law, the underage marriage between Claimant G~ and NH was, at most, voidable. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-3; Ivery, 129 S.E.2d at 462; see also N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-2(a1) (2009) (parental consent required for marriage of persons over sixteen and under eighteen). We do not have sufficient information to determine if Claimant G~ and NH ratified their marriage by residing together after Claimant G~ reached the age of consent. However, as discussed above, voidable marriages are valid until declared otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction in an action directly attacking the validity of the marriage. In this case, we have no evidence that anyone attacked the validity of the marriage. Rather, in granting their divorce, a North Carolina court specifically found Claimant G~ and NH were “lawfully married.” Therefore, Claimant G~ and NH were lawfully married under North Carolina law.
BACKGROUND REGARDING WHETHER THE S~ MARRIAGE WAS VALID UNDER NORTH CAROLINA LAW
Shelvey J. S~ (Claimant S~) and Clyde J. S~, the number holder (NH), participated in a marriage ceremony on April 3, 1964, in North Carolina. According to Social Security Administration records, Claimant S~ and NH had children during the marriage. NH died on February 26, 1983, while a resident of Virginia. The marriage license and certificate indicate Claimant S~’s date of birth as October 13, 1945, making her 18 years of age at the time of the marriage ceremony. When Claimant S~ applied for widow’s insurance benefits on December 1, 2009, she reported her date of birth as October 13, 1948. Thus, Claimant S~ was actually 15 years of age at the time of her marriage ceremony. Claimant S~ alleges she had parental consent for the marriage, but presented no proof of this claim. She claimed she contacted the courthouse to obtain a copy of the consent her mother allegedly signed, but was told the records were destroyed after five years. Claimant S~ also stated she did not know her date of birth was incorrect on the marriage license.
DISCUSSION OF WHETHER THE S~ MARRIAGE WAS VALID UNDER NORTH CAROLINA LAW
Under the Act, a claimant may be eligible for widow’s insurance benefits if she is the “widow” of an individual who died a fully-insured individual. See Act § 202(e)(1); 20 C.F.R. § 404.335(a) (2009). “Widow” means the “surviving wife” of an individual. See Act § 216(c)(1), 42 U.S.C. § 416(c)(1); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.335(a), 404.344 (2009). An individual may be the “surviving wife” of an individual if she is the mother of the deceased individual’s son or daughter or was married to the deceased individual for a period of not less than nine months immediately prior to the day he died. See Act § 216(c)(1); 20 C.F.R. § 404.335(a)(1), (a)(3). Claimant S~’s alleged marriage to NH lasted more than nine months immediately prior to the day on which he died, and the evidence indicates she is the mother of his children. Therefore, if Claimant S~ and NH were validly married, she would be his “widow” for the purposes of widow’s insurance benefits. See Act §§ 202(e)(1), 216(c)(1); 20 C.F.R. § 404.335(a).
Under North Carolina law, underage marriages are at most voidable and are considered valid until declared otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-3; Ivery, 129 S.E.2d at 462. According to the information provided, children were born during the marriage, and Claimant S~ and NH were residing together at the time of NH’s death. Thus, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-3, the marriage between Claimant S~ and NH cannot be declared void. In addition, the parties ratified the marriage by living together after Claimant S~ reached the age of consent. See Ivery, 129 S.E.2d at 462; Sawyer, 146 S.E. at 865. Therefore, Claimant S~ and NH were lawfully married under North Carolina law.
DISCUSSION OF THE APPLICATION OF VIRGINIA LAW The Act at Section 216(h)(1)(A)(i), 42 U.S.C. § 216(h)(1)(A)(i), indicates that a determination of whether an applicant is the widow of a fully insured individual is determined by the law of the state in which the insured individual was domiciled at the time of death. Similarly, the regulations also indicate, “To decide your relationship as the insured’s widow…, we look to the laws of the State where the insured had a permanent home when he… died.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.345. Accordingly, the advice memoranda you received from Region IV advised you to contact our office regarding whether the North Carolina underage marriages were valid under Virginia law to permit the widows to qualify as spouses under the Act.
You requested our advice regarding whether the policy of determining marital status stated in POMS GN 00305.005(B)(1) was applicable in these cases. According to GN 00305.005(B)(1), addressing which State’s law applies in determining marital status,
The validity of a marriage is ordinarily determined by the law of the place where it occurred; if valid in that jurisdiction, it is usually held valid in other places. However, even though the marriage was valid where it was contracted, it may be void in the State of the worker’s domicile if it violates the law or public policy of the latter state. This view is most commonly held when the Uniform Marriage Evasion Act (GN 00305.155) is applicable or the marriage is polygamous.
Our research reveals that Virginia follows the general rule that a marriage valid where celebrated is valid everywhere unless the marriage is contrary to the law or public policy of the forum state. Toler v. Oakwood Smokeless Coal Corporation, 173 Va. 425, 429-31 (Va. 1939); Kelderhaus v. Kelderhaus, 21 Va. App. 721, 725 (1996), Kleinfield v. Veruki, 7 Va. App. 183, 186 (1988). Similarly, the policy enunciated in GN 00305.005(B)(1) recognizes the principle of comity, as well as the exceptions for marriages that violate law or public policy. Accordingly, for these underage marriages that Region IV found valid under North Carolina law to be recognized as valid in Virginia, we must determine whether they violate Virginia law or public policy.
Historically, the Virginia statutes pertaining to the marriage of minors were contained in sections 5078 and 5090 of the Virginia Code. Section 5078 provided that a person under 21 years of age, who had not previously been married, was permitted to marry with the consent of his or her father, mother, or guardian, or otherwise a judge of a specified court. Va. Code § 5078 (Michie 1942); see generally Needham v. Needham, 183 Va. 681, 685 (1945) (discussing the history of the Virginia statutes pertaining to marriage of minors). Section 5090 provided in pertinent part, “the minimum age at which minors may marry with the consent of a parent or guardian shall be eighteen for the male and sixteen for the female.” Va. Code § 5090 (Michie 1942); Needham, 183 Va. at 685. Significantly, Section 5090 had previously fixed the age of consent of the male at 14 and that of the female at 12 and stated, “whenever either of the parties was under the age of consent, if they be separated during such non-age, and not cohabit afterwards, the marriage shall be deemed void, without any decree of divorce, or other legal process.” Va. Code § 5090 (Michie 1919); Needham, 183 Va. at 685. However, section 5090 was amended in 1932 to raise the age of consent to 18 for males and 16 for females and to remove the provision declaring that the marriage of a person under the age of consent, followed by a separation, “shall be deemed void.” Va. Code § 5090 (Michie 1932); Needham, 183 Va. at 685.
DISCUSSION OF WHETHER THE P~ MARRIAGE WAS VALID UNDER VIRGINIA LAW
Our research reveals no intervening statutory changes between 1945 and 1960, when Claimant G~ married NH P~, that would suggest that the Needham case is not controlling in G~’s case. The parties in Needham, an 18 ½-year-old boy and a 17 ½-year-old girl, who were residents of Virginia and could not obtain parental consent, went to Maryland to marry, where the age of consent is 18 for a male and 16 for a female, but parental consent is required for males under 21 and for females between the ages of 16 and 18. Needham, 183 Va. at 683-84. The parties lied about their ages to enable them to marry without written consent in Maryland, but that marriage was nevertheless valid and binding upon them in Maryland. Id. at 684. Immediately following their marriage, the parties returned to Virginia where they cohabited together as husband and wife. Id. at 683. The husband brought suit to annul the marriage. Id. The trial court dismissed the case. Id. The Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed the trial court stating, “Marriages of minors over the age of consent for marriage are not ‘supposed to be void’ merely because of the lack of parental consent. The provision for parental consent is directory and preventative, rather than prohibitive of the consummation of the marriage contract.” Id. at 688. Accordingly, the court held that the out-of-state marriage of minors over the age of consent for marriage was permissible. Id.
The court reasoned,
Neither in section 5090, as it now stands, nor in any other statute, is there any provision declaring that the marriages of persons under the age of consent are absolutely voidable. We have statutes, however, expressly prohibiting marriages between certain persons, and declaring marriages between certain persons ‘absolutely void.’ Code, sections 5084, 5085, 5086, 5087, 5088, 5088a, 5088b, and 5089 (Michie’s Code of 1942). None of these statutes include persons otherwise qualified to marry, who have left the state to marry because parental consent could not be obtained.
Id. at 685. The court further explained,
Our statute, Code, section 5078, places a restriction upon the issue of a marriage license to persons under twenty-one years of age for the purpose of preventing such marriages; but the statute has stopped short of declaring such marriages void or voidable. It is also highly significant that there has been stricken from the statute (section 5090) which fixes the age of consent for marriage, the former provision declaring that the marriage of a person under the age of consent, followed by separation, ‘shall be deemed void.’
Id. at 686. The facts in Needham are similar to the facts of the P~ marriage. Claimant G~ was over the age of consent (16) when she married in North Carolina. Based upon the holding of Needham, we believe that a Virginia court would not find that Claimant G~’s underage marriage in North Carolina violated the law or public policy of Virginia. Therefore, because Claimant G~’s out-of-state underage marriage did not violate Virginia law or public policy, North Carolina law can be applied in her case.
DISCUSSION OF WHETHER THE S~ MARRIAGE WAS VALID UNDER VIRGINIA LAW
In the S~ matter, the claim is complicated by the fact that Claimant S~ was 15 at the time she married and, therefore, had not yet reached the age of consent (16). Accordingly, although Needham is instructive for this claim, it is not directly on point.
However, the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia addressed the issue of an out-of-state marriage under the age of consent in another context that lends guidance in the present case.
In Kirby v. Gilliam, 182 Va. 111 (Va. 1943), a mother brought an action to annul the marriage of her 14-year-old daughter without her daughter’s consent. Id. at 113. The plaintiff-mother alleged that her daughter’s husband took her minor-daughter to the state of North Carolina in 1942 to marry to circumvent the laws of Virginia, even though they immediately returned to Virginia and lived as husband and wife. Id. at 114. The plaintiff-mother also alleged that her 14-year-old daughter was incapable of contracting a valid marriage and that the alleged marriage was contrary to the laws of Virginia and against its public policy. Id. The plaintiff-mother appealed the dismissal of her claim by the trial court. Id.
In determining whether the plaintiff-mother could bring a suit on behalf of the minor-daughter without her consent, the appellate court found that, in the absence of a statute giving the plaintiff-mother the authority to bring such an action, courts appear to be unanimous in the view that a parent cannot institute in his or her own name an action for the annulment of the marriage of their child under the age of consent, but over the common-law age of seven. Id. at 119. The court explained,
These decisions are based upon the principle that a marriage by one under the age fixed by statute, but over the common-law age of seven, is voidable and not void, in the absence of a statutory provision expressly declaring that it shall be absolutely void; that ordinarily, so long as the parties to the marriage so desire, it is to the best interest of society that the marriage relationship be sustained; and that by such marriage and prior to its annulment, the infant consort is emancipated from his or her parents’ custody or control.
Id. footnotes omitted). The court further concluded that the trial court correctly dismissed the plaintiff-mother’s claim. Id. The court reasoned that the plaintiff-mother could not maintain the action because the marriage is presumed to be valid and has emancipated the minor-daughter from the custody of her parents until it has been annulled in a proper proceeding. Id. at 121. However, the court dismissed the plaintiff-mother’s claim without prejudice, noting that she could re-file her claim in the name of her daughter as next friend without her daughter’s consent, and it was an issue for the court to determine whether, under all the circumstances, it would be in the best interest of the minor that the marriage be annulled. Id.
While the court did not squarely address the issue of whether an out-of-state marriage of a minor under the age of consent violated the law or public policy of Virginia, we believe Kirby is persuasive authority for the principle that such a marriage does not violate the law or public policy. Otherwise, the court would have been reluctant to find the marriage merely voidable, rather than void. Additionally, the court could, and probably would, have intervened at that time, rather than dismissing the plaintiff-mother’s suit, and could have cited her arguments regarding the violations of law and public policy with approval. Notably, unlike in Kirby, the S~ marriage was unchallenged. Therefore, we believe that a Virginia court would find that the S~ marriage does not violate the law or public policy of Virginia.
We believe that a Virginia court would apply the law of North Carolina in accordance with the policy in POMS section GN 00305.005(B)(1) to find these underage marriages were valid because at the time these marriages were entered into they did not violate Virginia law or public policy.
Eric P. K~,
Regional Chief Counsel,
Tara A. C~
Assistant Regional Counsel
B. 09-130 Reply to Your Request for a Legal Opinion as to Whether Betty J. W~'s Marriage to Roosevelt W~ is Void Under Virginia; SSN: ~.
DATE: July 1, 2009
Under Virginia law sixteen is the minimum age at which a person can marry with parental or guardian consent. Virginia law further requires the consent of the father or mother or guardian of any person intending to marry who is under eighteen and has not been previously married unless an exception applies.
You requested our opinion as to whether the marriage between Betty J. W~ (Betty) and Roosevelt W~ (Roosevelt) is void under Virginia law because, at the time of their marriage, Betty had not attained the legal age of consent to marry in that state and, therefore, the marriage license appears to have been obtained under false pretenses.
We have reviewed the information that you provided and have researched the relevant provisions of Virginia and federal law. Based on this information and our review of the relevant law, it is our opinion that Betty's marriage to Roosevelt is void.
According to your memorandum of May 30, 2009, and the attached documentation, Betty and Roosevelt, who are both residents of Virginia, were married on March 17, 1979, in that state. Betty was born on August 15, 1961, and, therefore, was seventeen years of age on the date of the marriage. However, Betty indicated on the marriage license that her date of birth was August 15, 1960, and, thereby, fraudulently represented that she was eighteen years of age, the age of consent in the state of Virginia to marry without parental consent. There is no evidence that Betty had the consent of either parent or any guardian to marry on the date of March 17, 1979, or that consent was not required by virtue of any exception. You inquired whether Betty's marriage to Roosevelt is void under Virginia law because she was underage as of the date of the marriage.
1. Virginia Law
The Virginia Code sets sixteen as the minimum age at which a person can marry with parental or guardian consent. Va. Code Ann. § 20-48 (West (2009)). Virginia law further requires the consent of the father or mother or guardian of any person intending to marry who is under eighteen years of age and has not been previously married. Va. Code Ann. § 20-49 (West (2009)). Under Virginia law, all marriages in which either or both of the parties are, at the time of the solemnization of the marriage, under the age of eighteen, and have not complied with the provisions of § 20-48 or § 20-49, are void. Va. Code Ann. § 20-45.1(a) (West (2009)).
Section 20-49 provides two exceptions to the general requirement of parental or guardian consent to marry if an individual is under the age of eighteen. First, if the person under the age of eighteen has no father, guardian, or mother, or if that person had been abandoned by his or her parents, then a circuit court judge of the county or city of the person's residence could provide a verified petition of the person's intention to marry, and authorize the issuance of a marriage license. Va. Code Ann. § 20-49. Second, consent of a parent or guardian is not required for individuals under the age of eighteen who are emancipated. Va. Code Ann § 20-49.
2. Betty's Marriage to Roosevelt is Void Under Virginia Law
Under Virginia law, Betty's underage marriage is void because she was under the age of eighteen at the time of the marriage, and there is no evidence that a parent or guardian consented to the marriage. Va. Code Ann. § 20-45.1(a). Furthermore, nothing in the documentation that you provided, including Agency records showing that Betty's mother served as her representative payee until Betty's eighteenth birthday, indicates that Betty was emancipated at the time of the marriage, or that her parents or a guardian had abandoned her. Therefore, the exceptions to the requirement for parental or guardian consent to marry provided in section 20-49 of the Virginia Code do not apply.
Finally, although it appears that Betty and Roosevelt have cohabitated and held themselves out to the public as husband and wife for the past thirty years, the principles of domestic common law marriage cannot validate the union because the state of Virginia does not recognize that doctrine. See Kelderhaus v. Kelderhaus, 467 S.E.2d 303, 305 (Va. App. 1996).
Based on the evidence provided, Betty’s marriage to Roosevelt appears to be void under Virginia law.
Eric P. K~,
Acting Regional Chief Counsel, Region III
Assistant Regional Counsel
Please note that this opinion incorporates and replaces the G~ and S~ opinions from Region IV previously submitted on March 8, 2010.
We have included the relevant portions of the advice you have received from Region IV for possible inclusion in the precedential opinion file.
Both Claimants and their respective NHs were married by G. G. N~, Justice of Peace. The office of justice of the peace was later abolished in each county upon the establishment of a district court therein. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-176 (2009) (enacted in 1965).
The statutory language in effect at the time the Claimants and NHs were married is consistent with the current language. See Ivery v. Ivery, 129 S.E.2d 457, 461 (N.C. 1963) (discussing the statutory language in effect in the 1960’s).
North Carolina law also prohibits marriages between persons 1) nearer of kin than first cousins, or between double first cousins; 2) either of whom has a husband or wife living; 3) either of whom is physically impotent; and 4) either of whom is at the time incapable of contracting from want of will or understanding. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-3.
The summary of the relevant North Carolina law in the third and fourth paragraphs in the discussion section of the G~ memorandum was contained verbatim in the S~ memorandum, but has been omitted from this section. Please refer to the third and fourth paragraphs in the previous discussion section, including the footnotes, for the complete discussion of the law as it appears in the S~ memorandum.
Significantly, Virginia has not adopted the Uniform Marriage Evasion Act. See GN 00305.155.
Although we do not have access to Virginia statutes from this time period, SSA’s Law Librarian, James G~, obtained a copy of the 1960 version of Sections 20-48, Minimum Age of Marriage with Consent of Parents, and 20-49, When Consent Required and How Given, of the Virginia Code, from Theresa H. S~ of the Virginia Division of Legislative Services. Please note that Section 20-48 of the Virginia Code was previously Section 5090 in the 1942 section of the Code and Section 20-49 was previously Section 5078.
In 1975, Section 20-45.1 of the Virginia Code was enacted declaring a marriage void if solemnized when either one or both of the parties were under the age of eighteen and without complying with Section 20-48 (permitting marriage at age 16 with consent of parent or guardian) or 20-49 (permitting marriage under the age of 18 with consent of parent, guardian, or court). Va. Code Ann. § 20-45.1 (2010). However, because the underage marriages that were the subject of this memorandum occurred in 1960 and 1964, this provision would not affect these claims. Similarly, Ms. S~ also confirmed that Section 20-45.1 was not contained in the 1960 version of the code because it was not enacted until 1975.