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Marriage registration in Belgium

Marriage Registration in Belgium

Updated on Tuesday 19th February 2019

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The marriage registration in Belgium is the process through which a bond between two partners is made official before the Officer of the Civil Registry. The article below presents the needed information regarding the marriage registration in Belgium, such as residency conditions, documents required or legalization issues.
 
In Belgium, the legal age for getting married is 18 years old. Moreover, Belgium has become on June 1, 2003, the second country in the world that legalized same-sex marriage, following the Netherlands. “Statutory cohabitation” is also recognized, and is open to any two cohabitation persons.
 

Documents needed for marriage in Belgium

The first step for marriage registration in Belgium is to gather all the documents needed and take them to the marriage office in the commune where one of the future spouses lives. The office can be found in the municipal buildings of the Town Hall and is part of the Service de I'Etat Civil/de Burgerlijke Stand.
 
If you plan to register a marriage in Belgium, our lawyers in Belgium can help you with all the needed information. Our Belgian law firm is experienced in the marriage procedure and will provide the necessary assistance. You can reach out to us if you have any questions. 
 
The following documents are needed for registering a marriage in Belgium:
 
  • - original or certified copy of the birth certificates of both parties
  • - proof of identity (original or legalized)
  • - proof of nationality (original or legalized)
  • - certificate of residence that shows the full name, date, and place of birth, as well as the last legal residence, nationality and marital status for the couple.
  • - a copy of the final Belgian divorce decree is also required in case one or both parties have been previously married. The decree needs to mention the date of divorce pronunciation. 
 
In case one of the individuals is not a Belgian resident, then he or she must obtain the respective certificate from the authorities of the last place of residence. The documents should be no older than six months as to reflect the actual status of the individual and they need to be notarized. Couples can obtain more information from the municipal Registrar’s Department in the area where they wish to get married or they can contact one of our lawyers in Belgium for answers to personalized questions. 
 
Belgians who are living abroad and do not have a habitual residence in Belgium can get married in the municipality where one of them has his or her last place of residence or when a first degree or second-degree blood relative has his/her place of residence. Alternatively, they can get married in the municipality where one of them was born.
 

Residency conditions for marriage in Belgium

In Belgium, marriage can be validated if one of the future spouses was a Belgian citizen at the time of the ceremony or has been a resident of the country for more than three months. The residence can be demonstrated through an air ticket, a rent receipt or evidence of administrative formalities completed with the authorities.
 
Belgium allows for marriage between persons of the same sex and the same condition applies in this case: one of the partners needs to have been a habitual resident in the country for more than three months. The same proof of residency methods can apply.
 

The recognition of the marriage ceremony 

In order for the marriage to be validated, the ceremony must take place in the municipality where one or both partners are registered. It must be made in the presence of the mayor or alderman vital. The civil ceremony is required in order to make the union official and if a religious ceremony is to happen, then the partners have to make sure that they visit an office of the state through the local municipality so that the union can be legalized. Even if civil unions do not require witnesses, the spouses are entitled to nominate up to four persons as witnesses.
 
The marriage procedure in Belgium for the Flanders region is as follows:
  • - notification: the intention to marry is notified to the municipal Registrar with 14 days in advance of the marriage date.
  • - notice of intended marriage: a notice of intended marriage is issued by the municipal department of Civil Affairs.
  • - the marriage officiating: the Registrar officiates the wedding on the due date and issues the marriage certificate; this is the legal proof of marriage.
  • - recognition: only the civil marriage is recognized by law, however, spouses may then plan a religious ceremony. 
 
Couples who wish to present a prenuptial agreement will have this document registered with the Central Register of Marriage Contracts. A prenuptial agreement can be used as a method of protecting the inheritance rights of children from previous marriages as well as protect the interests of a business in case one of the spouses is a business owner in Belgium. It can be used as a legal instrument to address many financial aspects of the union and can cover liabilities as well as responsibilities in advance. It can also limit the amount one of the spouses needs to pay in case of divorce in Belgium. Some of the disadvantages may include the fact that a spouse that participates to the business owner by the other may not receive any shares in the event of divorce as well as that in some cases one of the spouses may need to renounce his/her rights to inheritance in case of the other spouse’s death. Matters treated in this type of agreement are best discussed with a lawyer who can advise couples on certain particularities. The manner in which future events will be handled can be hard to predict and can depend on the couple’s personal history. It is advisable to seek legal counseling for a personalized agreement instead of using standard prenuptial contracts. One of our lawyers in Belgium who specialize in marriage issues can give you more information about the prenuptial agreement if you are considering this option. 
 
Getting married in Belgium is a simple process provided that the spouses comply with the conditions described in this article and, most importantly, the conditions for having lawfully resided in the country for the minimum period of three months.
 
One of our lawyers in Belgium can help you prepare the documents for marriage registration and can help you make the necessary notifications to the Registrar in the area where you live. Moreover, one of our attorneys can help you with the procedure if one of the spouses is a foreigner or if you have any questions about the documents that need to be presented by the non-resident in case of marriage.
 
A foreign marriage certificate can be recognized in Belgium provided that all of the conditions for marriage in that country were respected. A foreign marriage certificate can be translated and transcribed into the civil status registry in a Belgian municipality. 
 
Individuals who are considering getting married in Belgium for citizenship purposes should know that marriage to a Belgian citizen does not influence the nationality of the other party. One of our attorneys in Belgium can give you detailed information about residency requirements after marriage and about obtaining citizenship. 

Some foreign citizens may be interested in getting married in more interesting parts of the world, such as Los Angeles and they should know that there are other requirements that have to be fulfilled there. Our team of Belgian lawyers can put you in contact with a team of wedding planners in Los Angeles, that can help you with a wide range of services, including marriage registration.