German cabinet on April 5, 2017 moved to ban child marriages after the recent mass refugee influx brought in couples where one or both partners were under 18.
The new law is set to be approved by July. It is a protective move for annulling child marriages of foreign minors.
It will allow youth welfare workers to take into care underaged girls even if they were legally married abroad and, if deemed necessary, separate them from their husbands.
The age of consent for all marriages in Germany will be raised from 16 to 18 years. Currently in some cases an 18-year-old is allowed to marry a 16-year-old.
Foreign marriages involving spouses under 16 will be considered invalid, and those involving 16 or 17-year-olds can be annulled by family courts.
Rare exceptions are possible, for example when one of the spouses suffers from a serious illness - but only if the couple are now both adults and both want to stay married.
The draft law would also punish with a fine any attempts to marry minors in traditional or religious rather than state ceremonies.
There were 1,475 married minors registered in Germany last July - 361 of them aged under 14 - according to the latest figures released after a parliamentary request.
Of these 1,152 were girls, said the interior ministry.
The largest group, 664 children, came from Syria followed by 157 from Afghanistan, 100 from Iraq, and 65 from Bulgaria.
But certain underage couples that have their own children, who could then be considered born out of wedlock and lose certain entitlements and inheritance rights. Government in Germany: Know More
- Government: Federal parliamentary republic
- President: Frank-Walter Steinmeier
- Chancellor: Angela Merkel Legislature
- Upper house: Bundesrat
- Lower house: Bundestag