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AFTER BEING RAPED, IMPREGNATED AND FORCED TO BE MARRIED AT 11, A WOMAN IS CREDITED FOR LAW CHANGE RE


For a long time in Florida minors could marry at age 16-17 so long as they had their parents’ consent. They could get married even younger if there was a pregnancy involved. This year, Florida legislature passed a bill eliminating the pregnancy requirement and making the minimum age of 17 for a couple to be married in Florida so long as some other requirements are met.

The bill was credited to Sherry Johnson, a child marriage victim, who was raped and impregnated at the age of 11. Her mother then forced Sherry Johnson to marry one of the men who raped her, even going so far as searching for a second clerk to marry them after the first clerk in Tampa refused to issue a marriage license to an 11 year old. Sherry Johnson had five more children from that marriage. She feels her future was severely altered and if the law had been in place she would not have been married and at a minimum the abuse would have not continued.

The new law comes with some strings attached. 17-year old’s can get married so long as the following requirements are met:

  • Their partner must be within two years of their age.

  • The couples would have to take a premarital preparation course.

  • They must sign sworn affidavits confirming the union is not coerced.

  • They must receive counseling if there is a pregnancy involved.

It seems that by the time they do all this, they will be 18 already so why not wait? They have their whole lives to be together. Patience is such an important requirement for a successful marriage that without it, the marriage is almost doomed to fail. Take a beat and wait just a little while before making a decision at 17 that will affect the rest of your life. Click here to view the amended bill: BILL No. 140

Miami PSPI is a process service and private investigation office, so it would behoove us to state the process service rule for minors who have been married. Once a minor has been married, service of process is no longer required to be served on their guardian. They must be served as any other adult per F.S. 48.031.

If you need a process server in Miami, please call Miami PSPI for assistance.

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