A father has been sentenced to serve six months in jail for allowing his 16-year-old son to marry in Las Vegas. This is not because the marriage was illegal: under Nevada law, minors can get married with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. The father was convicted for criminal contempt of court after allegedly violating a family court order.
According to court documents, this complicated story began when the 16-year-old's parents divorced in 2009 and were awarded joint custody of the boy. After the divorce became final, the parents returned to family court several times to deal with issues regarding the boy's behavior and education. In November 2010, the family court judge overseeing the case ordered the parents to enroll the boy in a Utah boarding school, described as an "educational institution for teenagers who have behavioral, emotional and educational issues."
The following month, the father and son departed from their native Florida and flew to Las Vegas, with plans of driving the remainder of the way to Utah. Before setting off on the last leg of their journey, however, they made a pit stop in Las Vegas. There, the father signed papers allowing his son to get married to the 18-year-old daughter of the father's housekeeper, effectively legally emancipating the son and removing him from the jurisdiction of family court.
The trio then continued to Utah, where they were informed that the school would no longer accept him.
When the father returned to Florida, he was indicted and later convicted of contempt of court, with the judge ruling that allowing his son to get married was a direct violation of the court order to take him to the boarding school. The father reportedly plans to appeal.
Source: ABC News, "Dad Gets Jail Time For Letting Son, 16, Marry in Las Vegas," Alexis Shaw, July 13, 2012