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To Sam

is it illegal for someone of the age of thirteen to be engaged

i am thirteen and my boyfriend who is twelve proposed to me ring and all but i am wondering is it legal i really love him and he believes he loves me but is it really legal I being just turned thirteen in october wonder this to question because i truly believe he is meant for me being the teen i am

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Getting engaged to be married is a big step to take - and one that usually needs a lot of thought and maturity. That’s why the law has a minimum age you have to be before you can get married.

There is no minimum age for getting engaged because it's only saying that you plan to get married and you’re not actually going through with it yet. It would be important to think about what you both want and to remember that even if you did say you were engaged, you can still change your mind at any time.

The law around minimum age to get married depends where in the UK you live. If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland then you need to be at least 16 before you can get married, but you need the consent of a parent or carer to do so. If you don't want a parent to be involved you need to be 18 years old to get married. If you live in Scotland you can marry at 16 with or without your parent's consent.

Being engaged isn't actually covered by these laws as it's not something you have to legally stick to, like marriage is. You can be engaged, be given a ring and set a date in the future to get married. But you can still change your mind at any time. Agreeing to be engaged to someone does not lock you into anything.

A time where it might be different is if an adult tries to become engaged to a young person. If an adult were to do this it could be seen as something called grooming. If an adult ever tries to ask you to marry them, or a marriage is arranged for you, it's important to tell someone who can help right away. This might be someone outside of the family if the people trying to arrange your marriage are relatives.

Even though you don't have to stick to an engagement, it's still a big step to take. It would be important to speak to the people round you, like a parent/carer or your friends. Getting another point of view is really useful and talking things through can help you decide what you want to do. Our counsellors are here for you if you want to talk to someone anonymously.

Thanks for your letter, take care.


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