Germany’s high court orders amendment of child marriage ban

Germany’s constitutional court ruled Wednesday that a law banning child marriages needs to be amended because it removes the possibility of continuing a marriage once both spouses become adults.

The German government passed the law in 2017 with the stated purpose of protecting girls who were married abroad. A large number of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in Germany in 2015.

The Federal Constitutional Court said marriages of individuals under age 16 conducted in other countries still may be declared null and void without an examination of the circumstances of the case. But the justices said there should be a way for such unions to remain legal if both people have since reached adulthood.

The court also ruled that the law needs to be amended to provide for spousal support after a divorce.

The court instructed the government and lawmakers to revise the law by mid-2024.

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