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Getting married in Spain

Spanish law recognises both civil and religious marriages, but only through a proper channel of documentation. With its rich history, culture, colour and natural beauty, a wedding in Spain is nothing but a dream come true for many couples. Spanish law permits foreigners to marry in Spain, but to jump over some of the legal hurdles - it is necessary for one party to have been a legal resident of Spain for at least two years. The minimum legal age for marriage in Spain has been defined as ‘18’ for both boys and girls. The administrative procedure or requirements vary from region to region; hence it is recommended to ask the local authority for detailed legal requirements. Usually, it takes around 30 to 45 days to get approval of a marriage application. To get married in Spain, you will need the following documents: - Your passport - Marriage application form - Original birth certificate - No objection certificate (Consular Certificate) issued by the civil registry of your home country - If married earlier, final divorce decree or death certificate - Proof of Residency, if not a native Spaniard (Note: All documents should be officially translated into Spanish language and must be authorised ie. legalized by the respective Spanish Consulate). Gathering all documentation in advance will certainly make your work easier; otherwise it would be frantic and with inadequate time. You can get the marriage or divorce certificate from your local registrar office in your native country and get it approved by the embassy in Spain or you can request your consular in Spain to issue one.

Civil Registry Office

The Civil Registry office is the where the marriage application needs to be submitted. Marriages can either be held in the district courts or the Town Hall in the presence of the Mayor or a delegate of Councillors or the designated authority. The office then issues the marriage certificate stating date, time and place.

Religious Weddings

In case of religious weddings: whether Catholic, Protestant, Islamic or Jewish marriages, one doesn’t need to follow the exact civil marriage procedure before the religious ceremony, although a certificate to marry is a must. For a Catholic style marriage, couples require a baptism certificate before the local Archbishop will start the ceremony. And in some cases, the parents of both parties also need to declare that their daughter/son is single. However, any kind of religious marriage must be registered with the Spanish civil registry in order to obtain an official marriage certificate. In addition to the stated common procedure, if it is observed that one of the parties has some kind of mental illness, the Civil Register doctor, as a rule, performs a medical test giving an opinion whether the marrying couple are fit to give their consent or not. Another important aspect of Spanish marriage is that the law in Spain allows marriage between same-sex couples; in 2005, Spain passed a controversial law legalising the right of adoption and marriage by homosexual males. It had brought fierce criticism from the Roman Catholic authorities, who pointed out that it would weaken the meaning of marriage. * This article gives an overview of Marriage in Spain and doesn’t cover all and accurate aspects of a Spanish Wedding. For more region specific legal procedure and the documents needed, it is advisable to contact the relevant local authorities. Information courtesy of Craig Edmonds Marbella Guide is your personal and business guide to Marbella.

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