July 16, 2018
Marriage is a very important event in every body's life, and if you are a foreign person it is possible that you feel even more uncertain about it. Nowadays, it is very common to see marriages between Colombians and foreigners, but besides the celebration, there's a lot you need to know in advance on what the Colombian legislation states about the marriage. If you are planning to get married in Colombia, it is advisable to look for the help of a Colombian lawyer, to make the process as easier as possible, providing you with the list of requirements you will need and clarifying any doubt you may have. The following is useful information for you to take into consideration before getting married in Colombia.
Civil Marriage in ColombiaCivil marriage in Colombia is performed at a Notary office by a Colombian official called notario in Spanish –similar to a County Clerk or Clerk of Court in the USA–, according to the country's own laws. Once you choose a notary to make sure both of you will be able of getting all the documents required, if not you can find another one with different demands. In all cases, the notary will request the couple certified copies of birth certificates. When foreigners plan to get married in Colombia they must prove that they are single, by providing different documents and after they are verified by a judge the marriage license will be approved. If the certificate is written in a different language from Spanish, the document must be translated by an official translator and apostilled, which is a formal authentication made in the country of origin.
If you already had a civil union in another country, it can be certified in Colombia, instead of performing a traditional marriage. Colombian legislation also provides the alternative of having a Common Law Marriage, which consists in recognizing couples that have lived together for two years in Colombian as a common law union, with equal rights and benefits just as they were married. Both options are also held by a notario in a Notary office.
Both, traditional marriage or common law marriage in Colombia allow the prenuptial agreements, to protect assets acquired in the past by the spouses, even if these assets are in another country. These assets could be in serious dispute in the event of a divorce, so it is very important for both parties to consider a prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial AgreementAlso called antenuptial agreements or premarital agreements, a prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple that is planning to get married, which establishes the rights they have to each other's property, to control how the property will be divided in the event of a divorce or death of one the spouses.
Nowadays, half of all marriages in America end up in divorce, although no one gets married thinking about divorce, it is prudent to at least consider a prenuptial agreement, in order to protect the spouses' assets, family business, and other important aspects. In Colombia, you can go through a prenuptial agreement before getting married to preserve the assets that were acquired in the past and those that will be acquired in the future.
There are different reasons why one party or even both may think about signing a prenuptial agreement previously of getting married, since it protects assets that may be involved in the event of divorce such as: determine financial responsibilities of the parties, avoid one party take on the debts of the other, clarify the way assets will be passed on after death and protect specific assets of one party, among others.
Pros and Cons of Prenuptial AgreementsUndoubtedly, deciding whether signing or not a prenuptial agreement while you are also planning a wedding could represent a stressful situation since it suggests the possibility that the relationship could end up in divorce at some point. However, this is something both parties should agree about. For you to better understand this agreement we present you some pros and cons.
Keep parties free from shared debt liability: This means that if one the spouses brings substantial debt to the marriage than the other, this agreement can protect the debt-free spouse from assuming the liability of the other.
Reduce property conflicts during a divorce: With a prenuptial agreement property and assets acquired before the marriage stay separated from the property you and your spouse obtain together, in order to avoid disputes in the event of divorce.
Family business protection: If you have a family business or an own business or practice, a prenuptial agreement allows you to protect that interest from dividing it as part of your shared liabilities.
Support for children's rights of a previous marriage: If one or both parties bring minor children to a marriage, their inheritance rights from a prior marriage will be always guarded by a prenuptial agreement in case you and your spouse divorce.
Non-financial rights are protected as well: With a prenuptial agreement, you can cover more than financial aspects of the marriage, which can be detailed in the document as a decision made in advance by the parties.
Create a stressful environment in the couple: To suggest your partner whether having a prenuptial agreement can cause a very stressful situation while you are planning a wedding since it could be understood as a lack of trust, so it should be carefully handled by both parties.
Child support or child custody not included: Child support or custody cannot be addressed in a prenuptial agreement; these kinds of issues must be resolved at the moment of a divorce.
Are you in a relationship in which both of you are considering getting married or having a prenuptial agreement in Colombia? If your answer is affirmative you may need the advice of a trustful law firm. At AGT Attorneys we provide you with experienced attorneys that specialize in family law, successions and estate planning, that will surely guide you and clarify all the doubts you may have about marriage and prenuptial agreements in Colombia. Contact us at +57 1 702-3671 or fill out the contact form below, our experienced attorneys are ready to assist you. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest news.
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