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    How to Get Married Civilly: A Comprehensive Guide

    Getting married is a significant milestone in many people’s lives. While some choose to have religious ceremonies, others opt for a civil marriage. In this article, we will explore the process of getting married civilly, commonly known as “casarse por lo civil” in Spanish. We will provide a step-by-step guide, discuss the legal requirements, and highlight the benefits of a civil marriage. So, if you are considering tying the knot in a civil ceremony, read on to learn everything you need to know.

    What is a Civil Marriage?

    A civil marriage is a legally recognized union between two individuals that is performed by a government official, such as a judge or a registrar. Unlike religious ceremonies, civil marriages do not involve any religious rituals or customs. They are purely legal proceedings that grant couples the same rights and responsibilities as those who marry in a religious setting.

    The Process of Getting Married Civilly

    Getting married civilly involves several steps that need to be followed to ensure a smooth and legally valid union. Let’s break down the process:

    Before proceeding with a civil marriage, it is crucial to research the legal requirements in your specific jurisdiction. While the general process is similar across different countries, there may be slight variations in the documentation or procedures. Some common requirements include:

    • Proof of identity: Both individuals will need to provide valid identification documents, such as passports or national identity cards.
    • Proof of age: In most countries, individuals must be of a certain age to get married. This requirement can vary, so it is essential to check the legal age of marriage in your jurisdiction.
    • Residency requirements: Some countries may require one or both individuals to be residents or have a specific length of residency before getting married.
    • Marriage license: In many jurisdictions, couples need to obtain a marriage license before the ceremony. This document confirms that they meet all the legal requirements to marry.

    Step 2: Gather the Necessary Documents

    Once you are familiar with the legal requirements, gather all the necessary documents. This may include:

    • Valid identification documents
    • Proof of age
    • Proof of residency, if applicable
    • Proof of divorce or death certificate, if either party has been previously married
    • Marriage license application, if required

    Ensure that all documents are up to date and in good condition. If any documents are in a language other than the official language of the country, you may need to have them translated and notarized.

    Step 3: Schedule an Appointment

    Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, schedule an appointment with the appropriate government office responsible for conducting civil marriages. This could be a registry office, a courthouse, or a municipal office, depending on your jurisdiction. It is advisable to book the appointment well in advance to secure your preferred date and time.

    Step 4: Attend the Civil Ceremony

    On the day of the civil ceremony, both individuals will need to appear before the government official responsible for conducting the marriage. The ceremony typically takes place in a designated room or office within the government building. During the ceremony, the official will read the legal vows and ask both individuals to confirm their consent to marry. Afterward, the couple and their witnesses will sign the marriage register, making the union legally binding.

    The Benefits of a Civil Marriage

    Opting for a civil marriage offers several advantages. Let’s explore some of the key benefits:

    A civil marriage provides legal recognition of the union, granting couples the same rights and responsibilities as those who marry in a religious setting. This includes inheritance rights, tax benefits, and access to healthcare and social security benefits.


    Civil marriages offer greater flexibility in terms of location and timing. Unlike religious ceremonies that are often held in specific venues or during specific hours, civil ceremonies can take place in various settings, such as registry offices, courthouses, or even outdoor locations. Additionally, couples have more flexibility in choosing the date and time that suits them best.

    Secular Nature

    For couples who do not practice a particular religion or have different religious backgrounds, a civil marriage provides a neutral and inclusive option. It allows them to celebrate their union without any religious customs or rituals, ensuring that both partners feel comfortable and respected.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can foreigners get married civilly?

    Yes, foreigners can get married civilly in most countries. However, it is essential to check the specific requirements and procedures for foreign nationals in your jurisdiction.

    2. How long does it take to get married civilly?

    The time it takes to get married civilly can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the availability of appointments. It is advisable to start the process well in advance to allow for any potential delays.

    3. Can same-sex couples get married civilly?

    Yes, same-sex couples can get married civilly in many countries where same-sex marriage is legally recognized. However, it is important to research the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.

    4. Can I have a religious ceremony after a civil marriage?

    Yes, many couples choose to have a religious ceremony or celebration after a civil marriage. This allows them to incorporate their religious beliefs and traditions into their union while ensuring the legal validity of their marriage.

    5. Can I change my name after a civil marriage?

    Yes, getting married civilly allows individuals to change their last name if they wish. The process of changing your name after marriage may vary depending on your jurisdiction, so it is advisable to research the specific requirements.


    Getting married civilly, or “casarse por lo civil,” is a straightforward and legally recognized way to unite with your partner. By following the necessary steps and meeting the legal requirements, couples can enjoy the benefits of a civil marriage, including legal recognition, flexibility, and a secular nature. Whether you choose a civil marriage for personal, cultural, or practical reasons, it is essential to research the specific requirements in your jurisdiction to ensure a smooth and successful union.

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    Kavya Patel
    Kavya Patel
    Kavya Patеl is an еxpеriеncеd tеch writеr and AI fan focusing on natural languagе procеssing and convеrsational AI. With a computational linguistics and machinе lеarning background, Kavya has contributеd to rising NLP applications.

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