„I Do” in Poland – Unveiling the Legal Age of Marriage

Let me tell you a truth about getting married in Poland. In order to tie the knot, one has to be both physically and emotionally mature. Without reaching the minimum age, you just can’t get hitched. That’s the law, specifically Polish law. It’s pretty clear about when you can’t get married, and what happens if you do.

How Old Do You Need to Be To Get Married in Poland?

Usually, you’ve got to be 18 to get married. But sometimes, if it’s really important and the court agrees, a girl over 16 can marry. This is only okay if it’s good for the family that’s being created. Interesting fact: if you got married before hitting the legal age but reach it before the court tries to break up your marriage, they can’t!

In the same vein, a guy can’t ask for an annulment if the girl gets pregnant. Even if a couple married without being old enough, they can’t annul it if they reach the legal age before any court action.

Marriage in Poland

It wasn’t always this way. Before 1999, guys had to be over 21 to marry. For compelling reasons, the court might let a guy over 18 get married.

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Some Other Obstacles to Marriage in Poland

Being completely incapacitated is another issue. If you are, you can’t get married. If you still do, the marriage can be annulled – unless the incapacitation has been lifted, then there’s no such right.

Mental illness or retardation can also pose a problem. But if it doesn’t threaten the marriage or the health of future children, and the person is not totally incapacitated, the court might give the go-ahead. It’s worth to say, you can’t ask for an annulment if the illness is over.

Hold Up – Already Married?

If you’re already married, you can’t get married again. If this happens, not only the spouse but any person who has a legal interest can demand an annulment. I know it sounds tough, but remember, being married to more than one person at the same time – bigamy – is a crime that can get you up to 2 years of jail time.

The Final Hurdle – Family Ties

The fifth obstacle is about family. Being there, you need to know that marrying a lineal relative, siblings, or relatives in a direct line is not allowed. This means you can’t marry your grandson, child, parent or grandparent, brother or sister, or evean a direct in-law like your father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law. Even after divorce, you can’t marry a direct relative of your ex-spouse.

Marriage in Poland

All these rules may sound a bit complex, but they’re in place to protect everyone involved. If you need to navigate the marriage laws in Poland, I think it’s best to get some expert advice.

Family Ties and Marital Bonds

Now, let’s get this straight. For crucial reasons, a court might allow relatives by marriage to get hitched. What are these reasons? Maybe one of them is seriously sick, or they have a kid together. So, marrying your former sister-in-law or cousins isn’t illegal — at least in civil law.

The church sees it a bit differently. If you’re thinking about bigamy again, anyone with a legal interest can call for an annulment. But in the case of affinity, only the spouses can do that.

Adoption and Marriage – A No-No in Poland

The sixth obstacle in this journey is about adoption. Let me explain: if you adopt a kid, you can’t marry them. If you do, there’s no way to annul the marriage if the adoption ends.

Invalid Marriages Due to Willful Errors

If there were mistakes in the marriage declaration, that’s a problem too. Let’s say someone was in a state that didn’t allow them to consciously say 'I do,’ or they were tricked about who they were marrying, or they were threatened unlawfully by someone else. If these things can be proven, the marriage can be annulled.

Marriage in Poland

Who can ask for this annulment? The spouse who was tricked, of course! But there’s a time limit. They have six months after they regain their ability to make conscious decisions, realize the error, or the fear caused by the threat stops. On top of that, they can’t ask for an annulment more than three years after getting married.

Specific Grounds for Annulment

Let’s dig into the reasons for annulment. The first one is when a spouse couldn’t consciously express their will. Maybe they had a temporary mental disorder or were high on drugs. Or when a spouse was forced to marry because of unlawful threats from the other spouse or a third party.

But the most intriguing reason is the second one: an error in the identity of the spouse. This rule only applies if you physically married a different person than you intended. This doesn’t cover personal characteristics like marital status, health, or sexual orientation.

I think it’s worth saying that there’s no grounds for annulling a marriage if there’s a mistake about these. In fact, courts have refused to annul marriages where the wife lied about her age and was actually 11 years older, or where the huisband used another man’s ID card. Fascinating, right?

Age Limits – What You Need to Know

Alright, let’s talk age limits. The fact is, a guy under 16 or a girl under 14 can’t get hitched. I know, the age seems a bit young for our Polish standards, right? But hey, these are the norms of church law, and they differ based on culture and when folks hit adolescence around the globe.

So, if a woman is over 14 and a man over 16, can they legally marry in Poland? Not exactly. The church law has a clause that lets the Episcopal Conference raise the marriageable age.

They used that right to make the age limit 18 for both men and women. I think it is worth saying that the most important thing is that the couple should be physically and emotionally mature enough. Just like state law, hitting 18 gives you the green light to marry.

Marrying Before Legal Age – Can It Happen?

What if you want to marry before you hit 18? Both church and state laws do allow women to marry at 16. For guys, though, there’s no rule to lower the marriage age. State law says a woman can marry at 16 if there are important reasons. The most common reason? Pregnancy. The marriage should also be good for the family.

Now, to get hitched at 16, you need permission from the guardianship court. But hang on, this isn’t enough to get married under church law. There, you need the green light from the diocesan bishop too.


  • https://sip.lex.pl/akty-prawne/dzu-dziennik-ustaw/kodeks-rodzinny-16781128/tyt-1
  • https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prawo_ma%C5%82%C5%BCe%C5%84skie_w_Polsce