My cousin is 15 years old and married. She recently came to Germany with her husband (25 years old). The marriage is not accepted here. Why not?

Your cousin married abroad.
In Germany, marriage is only permitted after your 18th birthday.
When both parties are 18 years old.
Sometimes a marriage is permitted when one of the partners is only 16 or 17 years old.
This is decided by the family court.
An application must be made before the marriage.

If somebody is younger than 16 years old they may not be married in Germany.
Therefore, a marriage concluded abroad is not recognised here.
The reason for this is that people must be mature enough for a marriage.

In Germany the state must protect children and young people.
The state must be sure that young people marry voluntarily.
This means: nobody forces or convinces somebody to marry (for example, the family).
They must have decided for themselves.
This is the reason why the marriage age is determined in this way.

My parents have found someone for me to marry. But I do NOT want to get married. What can I do?

That is a very difficult situation.
Forcing people to get married
is prohibited in Germany.

You have several options:
First option:
You can try to talk to your family about it.
Your family might not realise that they are doing something illegal.
But they may not want to listen to you.

Second option:
You can leave your family before the planned wedding.
You can get help.
But be careful! Do not tell anybody about your plans in advance.

You can always contact Wüstenrose.
The telephone number is 0 89 – 45 21 63 50.
The people who work there know about the support facilities available in Germany.
They will talk to you about what you can do now.
You do not have to give your name on the telephone.

Text from Wüstenrose (IMMA e.V.)

I am a 17-year-old girl. I would like to marry my boyfriend. Is that permitted in Germany?

You can get married to your boyfriend.
Marriage is an official relationship before the law.
A registry office will confirm the relationship.

There are various regulations relating to marriage in Germany.
You are allowed to get married from the age of 18.
Sometimes you are allowed to get married from the age of 16:
But then your partner must be older than 18.
And the family court must agree.

You are only allowed to marry one person.
Multiple marriages are not permitted in Germany.

You are allowed to end your marriage at any time if you are unhappy.
That is called divorce.
You can find more information on this website:

You are not allowed to marry anyone in your own family.
Even cousins do not marry cousins in Germany.
Children from these marriages can get hereditary diseases.
So it is not a good idea to marry your own relatives.

You do not have to get married!
You can get help if someone wants to force you.

The other option is:
You can get married by means of a religious ritual.
There are many different marriage rituals.
But in Germany these are not official according to the law.