The Dominican Republic - The Civil Code - Equality Now
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The Dominican Republic - The Civil Code

Article 144 of the Dominican Republic’s Civil Code allows girls as young as 15 years old to be married off but protects boys younger than 18 from entering into marriage.

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Law status: Amended
  • Law Type: Marriage, Divorce, Polygamy & Wife Obedience

UPDATE January 2021: On 6 January, 2021, President Luis Abinader enacted and published a law and issued a decree banning marriage below the age of 18. We are pleased with this amendment to the law, and hope that further measures will be taken to discourage informal unions between adults and children, which are also common in the Dominican Republic. More information in Spanish here.


When young girls are forced to marry, they face potentially lifelong harmful consequences. They are essentially subject to state-sanctioned rape and are at risk of increased domestic violence, forced pregnancy, and negative health consequences while being denied education and economic opportunity.

Laws prohibiting marriage under the age of 18 for both girls and boys, without any exceptions, are needed to make explicit the States’, and societies’ understanding that young people need time to understand their independent circumstances before entering into a lifelong contract that will affect many aspects of their lives.

Article 144 of the Dominican Republic’s Civil Code allows girls as young as 15 years old to be married off but protects boys younger than 18 from entering into marriage.

Article 144. Marriage is forbidden for men younger than 18 years old or women under 15 years of age.

Note:

Article 39(4) of the Constitution of the Dominican Republic: Women and men are equal before the law. . . .  The necessary measures shall be promoted in order to ensure the eradication of gender inequality and discrimination.

Call on the President to turn words into deeds.