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Child marriage refers to the formal or informal marriage of a person under the age of 18 years. Early marriage is also the union of a spouse who is under the age of 18 years but is interpreted to encompass cases regardless of whether or not they have attained the age of majority in their local jurisdiction. Early marriage is a broader umbrella term, then, that is not linked to a culturally specific notion of childhood or to a local legal definition. Colloquially, early marriage is even more flexible and may include marriage in early adulthood. People often use the terms early marriage and child marriage interchangeably or together as child, early, and forced marriage. This entry examines the age of marriage, its legal regulation, ...

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