“Hasty marriage seldom proveth well.” William Shakespeare Henry VI
Almost mindful of the above quote, its seems the Spanish agree. It can take a long time to organise a wedding in Spain, so the key here is to plan in advance. Plenty of people come to Spain to get married on the beach each year, and plenty of expats too tie the knot.
These days recognition of a partnership, be it marriage, civil partnership or a religious ceremony is more than the fairytale day. It is really important for couples living in Spain to make sure their rights as a couple are upheld. One example is on the death of a partner living in Spain, where they have forced heirship, the surviving partner can lose out on even the house they live in without proper legal recognition of their relationship.
To have a civil marriage in Spain, one of you will need to be a Spanish National or have been resident in Spain for two years, so signing on the Padron has yet another use. You will need to prepare a host of documentation too.
The first step is to get all the paperwork together.
· 4 Copies of your passport.
· Birth Certificate, translated and Stamped with the Apostille (read more about that here)
· Certificate of No Impediment – Usually available from your local consulate
· Proof of residency – Padron Certificate
You can find all kinds of translators online, and to obtain the Apostille Stamp you will need to send off your original documents and there is a small cost involved, check online for details of how to do this locally.
You will then need to apply for a marriage licence, which means presenting these documents for approval. The wedding banns are displayed on the town hall notice board for 21 days. You may be asked to attend an interview to ensure that the marriage is genuine, in which case you could be delayed up to 6 weeks. As long as there are no objections the licence will be granted.
After the wedding service, you will be given a certificate, this is the legal document and you should keep this extraordinarily safe. If you are having a religious service, you MUST remember to register your marriage at the local town hall, you only have one week to do this or the marriage might not be recognised.
As ever there’s a little beaurocracy and a bit of a wait involved with all of this, so allow plenty of time before the big day. If you are not sure about something, always check with a professional. Happy Planning.
Patrick Grant – Lawyer