All that you have to know to make your marriage a succces story...

From july 2011

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  marriage & religion - civil marriage French Version

The civil wedding.


In many legal systems civil marriage taking place at the same date with the religious marriage ceremony, even if both are theoretically distinct. 

Thus, in the majority of the American States but also in the United Kingdom and in the Irish Republic, the marriage is celebrated by a priest, Pasteur, a Rabbi or any other religious authority who also officiates like a public agent.

In certain countries, which inherited the Napoleon's code, like France, Spain, Germany, Argentina or Russia, any marriage supposes the passage in front of an officer of marital status, the mayor or an assistant: it is what one calls the civil wedding. It can be (or not) followed with a religious wedding.



1 The conditions of the civil wedding in France.

2 Documents to be supplied.

3 The ceremony of the civil wedding

4 Legitimation of child born before the marriage

5 Wedding in France, with a foreigner
6 For other countries

7 The PACS, the civil pact of solidarity

8 Marriage of convenience and sentimental swindle





The conditions of the civil marriage.

It is verified that the partners perform legal requirements:
The fiancés have to be at least 18 years old (previously  15 for the girl), to be single and of other sex, and they must not be bound by family relationships. Indeed, the law forbids formally in France to get married to an influence directly, or to a descendant, or to a brother or a sister, an uncle or an aunt.

Let us note that in some countries, but not in France, a marriage between homosexuals is authorized, and this, since a very recent date.

Documents to be supplied.

Documents to be supplied in the Town Hall depend on the situation and it is careful to inquire there directly. As a rough guide it will be necessary to supply for both, a recent birth certificate, an identity card, an affidavit of their state of single  or divorcee, the identity of witnesses. Let us note that a woman widow or divorced cannot remarry before 300e in the daytime after the death of the husband or the separation, except when a doctor guarantees that she is not pregnant: She  has to present a certificate of not pregnancy, whom she can obtain from her doctor.


After that, bannss are published: showed and published in the local press the planned marriage, so that every person knowing a cause for which it could not be pronounced can show himself. 


Ten days after this publication, the marriage can take place. 


The economic regime of the marriage, in the absence of a contract drafted in front of a solicitor, is that of the community reduced to acquests, that is that each of them stays an owner of the possessions whom they bring, or which will return to them from their family by donation or inheritance, while their current incomes will be awarded to the community.

The birth name of the husband remains the surname for the wife -it's called maiden name- and must be used for all the official acts, but it remains possible to add on any official documents, the name of her husband with her birth name. The married woman can, only, in the current usage, to use the name of her husband. But her birth name, that means her fathers name, stays her real name.


The ceremony of the civil marriage. 

The Mayor or his assistant, having pronounced some words of reception, will read the legal measures relative to the rights and the duties of the couple, then will ask them to assert their will to get married. The new spouses and the witnesses will sign then the register of marriages. The registrar will give them a wedding certificate and the family book: It's a booklet where will be write the name of their future children.

The ceremony can be very simple, the couple and their witnesses appearing only at the City hall. But usualy, if the civil marriage is followed, in the same half day, by a religious ceremony, all the guests will want to assist it.


Legitimation of child born before the marriage.

In the event of legitimation of child born before the marriage, it is advisable to announce it to the town hall and to provide the copy of the birth certificate (comprising, in particular, mentions of recognition). Since the law of January 8, 1993, the married parents can ask for the legitimation of their natural children deceased while addressing themselves to the service of the marital status. 


Wedding in France, with a foreigner. 
For the foreigner "fiancé", a certificate of habit ("certificat de coutume") will be required, in order to prove that he is not already married.
If the foreigner does not have his papers of resident, it should be made sure that the only motivation is not to regularize the situation by a marriage.
On this problem, see Marriage of convenience and sentimental swindle


Search for other country :

requirement+marriage+civil +'name of country'




Some useful links :  

In Wikipedia : Marriage Civil


For U.S.A., all states :


For UK 

Marriages - Introduction


For Ireland :


The PACS, the civil pact of solidarity. 
To answer the desire of the homosexual couples to benefit from guaranteed, notably economic, similar to those of the married couples, the French legislator created the PACS.