I am underage; my boyfriend is 30 years old

Biserka Tomljenović

Biserka Tomljenović


I am 16 years old and my boyfriend is 30. He was married and has a child. My parents recently found out about my relationship with him and forbade me to see him, they call him all the time, they threaten me that I will go to a juvenile correctional facility, and that they will call the police on my boyfriend. I am in a relationship with him willingly and there is no coercion. Can I see him freely without them suing him and without having problems with the police or ending up in a juvenile correctional facility? Can I, if I want to, move in with him?

Your question, which may seem simple, is in fact quite sensitive and complicated and can be approached from several directions: 1. your relationship with your parents 2. the provisions of the Criminal Come and the Family Act and 3. your maturation and the issue of maturity regarding making such important life decisions. 

So, let us tackle all of these issues:

  1. Your parents are probably very scared and want to protect you from wrong life decisions by trying to solve the problem using threats and intimidation. Such an approach will almost certainly not bear fruit. Obviously, there has been a significant disagreement between you and your parents over what your life should look like and what your priorities should be. Your boyfriend is twice as old as you are and already has one marriage behind him, nowadays such a love combination is not common and that is why your parents are afraid for you. It is assumed that it is best for a woman to finish school first and gain her economic independence so as not to be completely dependent on the man. I believe your parents act out of a desire to protect you and because they care about you. However, they made a few mistakes in their approach. It would be most useful for you to, as a family, seek the help of an expert (psychologist, social worker) to help you resolve this conflict in the family. I would recommend that you contact a school psychologist or social welfare centre or our Parents’ Association Step-by-Step.
  2. Regarding the legal preconditions for your life with a boyfriend, the situation is as follows: You are a minor and as a minor, you do not have legal capacity, i.e. you do not have the legal right to decide where and how and with whom to live without parental consent. Namely, in the eyes of the law, your parents are responsible for you and your behaviour until adulthood, and that is why such decisions are made by your parents until you reach adulthood. Why is that so? Namely, thousands of years of experience have shown that children up to the age of 18 are still children and that without parental help and guidance they are not mature enough to make all the decisions in their lives. Therefore, the law, in its provisions, actually reflected the millennial experiences of the family. Of course, parents should always involve their child and listen to him or her when making decisions about the child and take the child’s opinion into account whenever possible. The main legal guideline for assessing all circumstances in making decisions about children and minors, whether made by parents or officials or guardians is – THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD, and in this case the child is you. So, question number one is – Is it in your best interest to move in with a boyfriend? Will you finish school? Will you be able to achieve all your personal goals? Are you at risk of premature pregnancy? Will such a life provide you with the security and stability needed for your personal development into an independent and self-aware woman?

The law provides for the possibility for a child to turn to a social welfare centre and a court for assistance if he or she is dissatisfied with parental decisions or considers that they have been made to his or her detriment. You have the same opportunity too. Contact the social welfare centre and initiate proceedings against your parents. In doing so, you must be aware that the experts at the Centre will also make all their decisions based on the assessment of YOUR BEST INTEREST. 

If you decide to get married, you must first get approval from the court. It is not up to your parents to decide. Thus, the law clearly states that the marriage of a minor is possible exceptionally and with court approval. If the court approves the marriage, after you conclude the marriage, you will acquire legal capacity – AND BECOME FULLY LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL DECISIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR DECISIONS YOU MAKE IN LIFE. In this way, in the eyes of the law, you cease to be a child and become an adult and are expected to take care of yourself and eventually, your child.

Regarding the criminal law and the provisions related to the prosecution of your boyfriend, the situation is clear, your boyfriend will not have problems with the law because of his relationship with you – unless he supports you in fleeing your parents and agrees to you moving in with him without the consent of your parents. 

I also advise you to carefully study the website of the Ministry of the Interior, which explains very nicely about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour of minors. For all unacceptable behaviours, juveniles may be subject to educational and punitive measures, depending on the type of behaviour.

  1. Independent living brings with it many challenges. It is not easy to be independent and self-sufficient and many women actually just replace their parents with a man, i.e. they leave the care of themselves to a man. Such an approach is very risky for you and especially for your child if you have it. Therefore, before you decide to end your childhood, ask yourself a few questions:

If my parents were not angry with me and if they accepted my boyfriend, would I still want to live with him? 

How do I see my life in five years? What kind of person am I? What job do I do, how do I make money? What kind of relationship do I have with family and friends? Am I employed or is my boyfriend taking care of me? 

Am I willing and able to take care of myself without parental help if my boyfriend leaves me? 

Can I finish school and find a job I want and make my dreams come true without the support of my parents or my boyfriend? 


Namely, if you just replace your parental home with a boyfriend who will actually take care of you, you have not done much, have you? 

Therefore, I would recommend that you start working on the relationship with your parents first, because that is where I see the most benefits for you. Contact a Social Welfare Centre for help or come to our counselling centre to help you with this. You do not seem to have been able to agree on your own, but that does not mean that with the help of an expert you would not be able to reach an agreement. In any case, whatever you decide, I wish you good luck!