Family and marriage law is governed by state statute. Each state writes its own laws regarding the age of consent to marry, which is 18 in most states. At this age, residents do not need the written consent of their parents or legal guardian to marry. However, if consent is needed, parents provide it by filling out, signing, and notarizing a simple form that gives basic information about the individuals seeking to wed.
Online Consent Form
The South Dakota Department of Health offers a consent form online, as do many other states. This South Dakota form serves as a typical example of a legal consent to marry, but it's important to use a form approved by your state. South Dakota requires this form be completed by at least one parent or legal guardian for anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 who wishes to marry. Without it, the state will not issue a marriage license.
Bride and Groom
The South Dakota form begins by identifying the groom by his full legal name. Below the name are yes/no check boxes. If the groom is between 16 and 18, you must check yes. If not, you check no. The same information is then given for the bride. If either the groom or bride are under the age of consent, in this case the age of 18, his or her parent or legal guardian must sign the form.
In the South Dakota form's second section, the parent or legal guardian signs the form below a statement giving consent to the marriage. The form requires the printed name of the signatory, the relation of the signatory to the bride or groom, the date, and a signature.
The signature must be witnessed and verified by a notary public. The South Dakota form provides a notary block for this purpose. The notary adds his signature and the date, provides the notary seal, and gives the commission expiration date. It is standard practice for a notary to require government-issued photo identification in order to witness a signature. If the form is not notarized, the court will not accept it as legal, and the clerk will not issue the marriage license.
If the person signing the form is a legal guardian, he must attach a certified copy of the court order appointing him as legal guardian.