Lost actor Doug Anthony Hutchinson, 51, and aspiring country music singer Courtney Alexis Stodden, 16, caused a stir with the news that they recently wed in Las Vegas. While it may be unusual, is marrying an under-aged teenager who is 35 years your junior illegal? The short answer is no.
In the State of Nevada, minor applicants who are 16 and 17 years old can obtain a marriage license with two things: An original or certified copy of their birth certificate, and a parent or legal guardian who will provide his or her consent.
In most states, including California, the “age of majority”—as in, the age when minors become grownups—is 18. In this particular case, Courtney’s mom, Krista Stodden, signed a legal consent form allowing her daughter to marry Hutchinson. That document is essential, as that is the only thing making this marriage legal.
In order for Mom’s consent to be valid, she has to either have sole legal custody of her daughter, or else still be married to Courtney’s father. Otherwise, Courtney likely also needs her father’s written consent. The couple currently resides in California, and without Dad’s consent, the marriage could be annulled due to Courtney being a minor. That being said, so long as there was proper parental consent, the marriage is legal and valid in every state.
Of interest is that if either of Courtney’s parents were obligated to pay child support, that obligation automatically ends, now that she’s married.