Are May-December marriages valid?


Marriages between young women and old men are nothing new, but does the Church allow a marriage between a young man and a much-older woman? A case would be a 35-year-old man who marries a woman in her 50s. She would no longer be able to have children and the man quite possibly never wanted children in the first place. Are such marriages valid since the man is avoiding having children?


In principle, there is nothing wrong with a man in his thirties marrying a woman in her fifties, just as there is nothing wrong in principle with a woman in her twenties from marrying a man in his sixties. If one of the partners to the marriage was choosing to marry a person past childbearing years to try to avoid procreation, that would indeed be a problem that might affect the validity of the marriage, but stating that the young man “quite possibly never wanted children in the first place” is not sufficient to show that he is entering marriage closed to life. Such a marriage would be presumed valid – sacramental, if both parties were baptized – unless proven otherwise by a marriage tribunal.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit