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Eight Matrimonial Laws You Wouldn't Expect In the U.S.

Unless you've been through a divorce, you might not be familiar with the complexities of family law in the United States. Over the years, U.S. matrimonial laws have changed and evolved, but some obscure statutes still remain in the law books, such as the Arkansas law that technically allows toddlers to get married if their parents approve. Below, you'll find some of the strangest divorce and family law statutes in the country.

In Arkansas, underage marriage is legal with parental approval.

The law was originally created to allow pregnant teens to get married if their parents agreed to the match. Unfortunately, lawmakers forgot to put a minimum age requirement on the law, making it possible for young children – even babies – to legally get married. The law was effective for several months in 2007 and 2008 before lawmakers realized their mistake and added a minimum age requirement for boys (17 years) and girls (16 years).

You can annul a marriage if someone dared you to get married.

People get married for many reasons, but "someone dared me to do it" shouldn't be one of them. The thought of getting married for a prank probably never crossed your mind, but a law in Delaware allows couples to annul their marriages if they did it on a dare. Common reasons for annulment include "without the capacity to consent" or marriage by force. Apparently, enough people get married as a joke to necessitate a law to dissolve the marriage.

You can't marry the same husband four times.

In Kentucky, it's illegal to marry the same man four times. While this law might seem like common sense to a lot of people, Kentucky lawmakers decided to make a statute anyway. The law does not restrict the number of times you can marry and divorce; only the number of marriages you can have to the same person.

Fake proposals are illegal, but only if you're 16 years or older.

According to a South Carolina law, it is illegal for men (16 years and older) to propose without intending to actually marry the girl. In fact, insincere proposals are a misdemeanor offense under the South Carolina Offenses Against Morality and Decency Act. The purpose of the law is unclear, but it was most likely created to dissuade men from proposing to seduce a woman.

Maltreating your mother-in-law is not a reason for divorce.

Mother-in-law relationships are notoriously difficult. In Wichita, Kansas, lawmakers created a specific statute that prohibits women from using a man's maltreatment of his wife's mother as grounds for divorce. Like many obscure matrimonial laws, the reason for the original creation of this statute is vague, but it could keep couples from listing petty reasons for fault in divorce.

Questions about divorce laws in St. Louis? Contact The Buxner Law Firm

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