Content. Marriages and partnerships in Europe Legal provisions and ceremony The case of Belgium

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1 13. International Seminar for Registrars Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen Marriages and partnerships in Europe Legal provisions and ceremony The case of Belgium Steve Heylen head of service Registrar s Office Leuven president VLAVABBS Content -Marriages - Dissolution of marriages - Civil partnerships - Conclusions Marriages: the Belgian Constitution Marriages

2 Marriages: the Belgian Constitution -Predominance of the civil over the religious marriage (article 21) -Civil acts and registers are attributions of communal authorities (article 164) - Marriage booklet -Jurisdiction of the Belgian registrar -Legal framework or national law to be applied (basic conditions and formalities) -Recognition in Belgium of marriages abroad Jurisdiction of the Belgian registrar (article 44) -One of the spouses is Belgian -One of the spouses has official residence in Belgium -One of the spouses has usual main residence in Belgium for more than 3 months - No tourist marriages

3 Legal framework (article 46) for the basic conditions -Law of the country of which each spouse is a citizen -Same sex marriages exception -Public order exception (article 21) Legal framework (article 47) for the formalities = Law of the country on which territory the marriage takes place Recognition of marriages abroad (article 27) Registrar checks: -Legal framework: basic and formal conditions (articles 46 & 47) -No evasion of law (article 18) - No intrusion Belgian public order (article 21) - Authenticity and validity (article 24) - Legalization (article 30) Recognition of marriages abroad (article 27) -Marriage accepted: civil status changes (article 31) -Re-registration not compulsory, possible for Belgians (article 48 Civil Code) -Marriage not accepted: court procedure (article 23)

4 Recognition of marriages abroad: consular marriages (article 5 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1963) - Consulates in Belgium - Consulates in third countries - Belgian consulates -Where? - Basic marriage conditions -Documents -Ceremony - Marriage certificate - Bogus marriages [Registry system: officer of civil status] Where (article 63)? -One of the spouses s official residence -Usual residence -Prison and hospital -Belgians living abroad: - Last residence in Belgium - Residence of a relative -Place of birth -Brussels

5 Basic conditions (articles and ) Basic conditions (articles ) -Two persons (regardless sex) -Monogamy -18 years old (or permission court) - Free consent Marriage is prohibited between: - Parents children - Step-parents step-children (exemption) -Parents in law children in law (exemption) - Brothers, sisters, brother and sister -Uncle or Aunt niece or nephew (exemption) - Adopter adoption child - Adoption child former spouse of adopter (exemption) - Adopter former spouse of adoption child (exemption) - Adoption children of same adopter (exemption) - Adoption child children of adopter (exemption) Documents (article 64) for the declaration of marriage (article 166) - Birth certificate - Proof of identity - Proof of citizenship -Proof of single status or dissolution/annulment former marriage - Proof of residence - Power of attorney -Other Legalization/translation Responsibilities registrar Ceremony (articles 75 and 166) -Day chosen by the spouses, hour by the registrar: time tables & fees -Town hall or other location decided by the municipal council -Witnesses: 0 to 4 -In public -Reading of chapter 6 Civil Code - Declaration of consent by the spouses - Declaration by the registrar - Signing the marriage certificate

6 Marriage certificate (article 74) -Date, place, time and officiating registrar marriage -Names, residence, place and date of birth spouses - Names and residence parents - Declaration spouses - Declaration registrar -Names, age, residence and relationship witnesses -Date, name and residence notary of marriage settlement (choice of law) - Marriage name if applicable Bogus marriages (articles 146bis and 167) -Definition: sole intention aimed at a permit of residence. - Indications (minister of Justice) -Possibility of postponing and refusing a bogus marriage -Annulment Dissolution of marriage: the Belgian Code of & Dissolution of marriage

7 Dissolution of marriage: the Belgian Code of & -Jurisdiction of the Belgian court -Legal framework -Recognition in Belgium of divorces abroad Difference EU non-eu Dissolution of marriage: the Belgian Code of & Jurisdiction of the Belgian court (article 3 Brussels II, article 42 Code) - residence in Belgium -one of the spouses Belgian Dissolution of marriage: the Belgian Code of & Law system (article 55 Code) - usual residence both parties - last common residence - common nationality - Belgian law - formalities: territory Dissolution of marriages: the Belgian Code of & Recognition of divorces abroad EU except Denmark (articles 21, 22, 24, 25, 37 and annex 1 Brussels II) = automatically: certificate annex 1

8 Dissolution of marriages: the Belgian Code of & Dissolution of marriage: the Belgian Civil Code Recognition of divorces abroad non-eu and Denmark (articles 22, 25 and 57 Code) The registrar refuses when: - Violation Belgian public order - Violation rights of defense -Evasion of Law - Decision open to appeal - Decision not compatible with earlier decision - Procedure started after Belgian procedure - Jurisdiction was exclusively Belgian -No bond with state where decision took place -Repudiation based on the will of the husband alone Dissolution of marriage: the Belgian Civil Code -2 types of divorce - Simplification process - Registrar s role limited Civil partnerships: the legal cohabitation

9 Legal cohabitation: the Belgian Code of Legal cohabitation: the Belgian Code of -Jurisdiction of the registrar when parties have residence in municipality -Legal framework: country of first registration -Recognition: see marriages (applicable national law, no evasion Belgian law, no violation Belgian public order, validity of documents) Legal cohabitation: the Belgian Civil Code Legal cohabitation: the Belgian Civil Code -Articles 1475 to Introduced year Registrar common residence -Two conditions: -No other legal cohabitation or marriage - Ability to conclude contracts

10 Legal cohabitation: the Belgian Civil Code - Declaration: -Date -Names, place and date of birth, signature both parties - Common residence -Consent -Aware of articles Civil Code -Place, date and name notary (separate agreement) Legal cohabitation: the Belgian Civil Code - End: death, marriage or declaration -Ceremony - Differences with marriage - Considerable -During the years social and tax benefits: marriage light -Gate for migration Conclusions Conclusions - Unexepted effects - Simplification - Citizen s wishes central - Changing society

11 Thank you!

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