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Information on Marriage - Legal Regulation in Croatia  

Forms of Marriage Ceremonies
In the Republic of Croatia Croatian citizens and/or foreign citizens can get married according to the prerequisites prescribed by the law.
Marriage can be civil or religious, and both can have the validity and effects of the civil marriage.

The civil marriage can be performed only by the wedding registrar.
> Registrar Offices in the Republic of Croatia

The religious ceremony with the effects of the civil marriage is performed in front of the clergyman of the religious community with whom the Republic of Croatia has regulated all the legal issues.
Persons performing religious marriage with the effects of the civil marriage must comply with the same conditions as for the civil marriage.
Religious marriage which is not performed according to the preconditions defined by the “Family law” does not have the effects of the civil marriage.
Persons who got married in a civil ceremony can before or after this ceremony also perform the religious marriage according to the regulations of the religious community they belong to.

Prerequisites for Marriage
Prerequisites for marriage ceremony are conditions defined by the law which should be fulfilled so that the marriage in question is recognised as valid and to have the legal effects, with regard to the impossibility to use legal provisions for invalidation.
Prerequisites for marriage, without regard to the form in which the ceremony is performed, are always assessed by the wedding registrar.
The fulfilment of the marriage prerequisites is assessed for each person individually and for both of them mutually.

The validity of the marriage is conditioned by fulfilment of certain prerequisites at the moment of marriage.

And those are the following:

  1. that the bride and groom are two persons of opposite sex

  2. that the bride and groom stated their consent for entering into marriage

  3. that the civil marriage is performed in front of the wedding registrar or that the religious marriage ceremony is performed:

    • in front of the clergyman of the religious community with whom the Republic of Croatia regulated all the legal issues,

    • that the bride and groom for this form of marriage have the certificate on fulfilment of prerequisites for marriage issued by the wedding registrar,

    • that the issued certificate is valid.

If at the time when the marriage ceremony takes place one of the above mentioned prerequisites is not fulfilled, marriage does not have any legal effects.
This, for example, could mean that persons who intended to get married did not actually become husband and wife and therefore for their children the legal effects of marriage are not valid.
If prerequisites for marriage were not fulfilled, in case of a religious marriage, the civil marriage does not take effect, while the validity of the marriage - as a religious marriage - is established according to the religious principles of the religious community in front of which representative the marriage ceremony took place.

Who can get married?
Only persons older than 18 (age when by the law a person reaches majority) and persons able to work and judge rationally can get married.

Who can not get married?

  1. a person who is not 18,

  2. a person without the capabilities to work and/or a person with no capabilities to judge,

  3. persons which are mutually related by:

    • direct descendant (ancestors and progeny) without limitation,

    • indirect descendant, namely:

    • - brother and sister, half brother and half sister (relative of 2nd degree),

    • - a child with sister or brother of his parent (relative of 3rd degree),

    • - children of brothers and sisters, children of half brothers and half sisters (relative of 4th degree),

    • - grand-children of brothers and sisters and grand-children of half brothers and half sisters (relative of 4th degree),

  4. the adopting parent and the child adopted,

  5. a person who is already married.

Exceptionally, a person older than 16 or a person without the capabilities to work and/or a person without capabilities to judge can marry only with a court permission.
On reasonable grounds the court can allow two indirect descendants to marry (4th degree) i.e. to the grand-children of brothers and sisters and grand-children of half-brothers and half-sisters. But, with difference to the other surmountable impediments to marriage, (majority and capability to work) it is not prescribed by the law that this in any way influences the validity of the marriage.

Documents Required for getting Married
Depending on fulfilment of the prerequisites for marriage, the bride and groom consign or only show relevant documentation.

Documents which Must be consigned to the Wedding Registrar

  1. Birth Certificate,

  2. certificate on marriage status, if the Birth Certificate is older than three months, court decision on permission to marry in case that bride and groom are under surmountable impediments to marriage (point 1, 2 and 3b to 4)

It is obligatory to present to the Wedding Registrar (the Wedding Registrar can photocopy them but on its own expense) the following documents:

  1. identification document (ID card, passport),

  2. proof of citizenship (ID card, passport and certificate of nationality). For Croatian citizens the Wedding Registrar ex officio defines the location of registration in the citizenship record and registration in other records in which marriage must be recorded,

  3. the Wedding Registrar can exceptionally request other documents, on individual bases.

  4. The fees are paid for giving notice of the intention of marriage and for the wedding ceremony, and for the certificate issued for the religious marriage ceremony with the effectiveness of the civil marriage. A special fee shall be paid in case the marriage ceremony is performed outside the official premises.

Where is marriage taking place?
Marriage is performed in a solemn way in the official premise (Registrar Office i.e. in the wedding halls prepared for the occasion), and exceptionally on other suitable locations outside official premises.
The bride and groom can request to be married outside official premises (in nature, in attractive and well known restoration objects, historical monuments or other locations which have special meaning or importance for bride and groom).
The suitability of a certain location for marriage is evaluated by the Wedding Registrar. For marriage outside the official premises there is a special fee.

 

Specific Obligations for Foreign Citizens

  1. Foreign citizens must fulfil the same prerequisites for marriage as Croatian citizens.

  2. Documents consigned or presented by foreign citizens to the Wedding Registrar must be issued in the prescribed form and if required translated and notarised by the official bodies. The validity of each foreign document used for marriage is verified by the Wedding Registrar, depending on the regulations (laws, bilateral and multilateral agreements) concerning the state which issued the document.

  3. Certificate on marriage status for foreign citizens (with no regard to the form in which it is issued) must by its content confirm that

    • there is no obstacle for marriage of the person in question according to the regulations of the state which the person is citizen of, and

    • that the marriage will be recognised by the state of his citizenship.

Marriage by Religious Ceremony

  1. Persons who want to marry in religious ceremony shall provide from the Wedding Registrar a certificate on fulfilment of all the prerequisites for marriage.

  2. The certificate is issued by the Wedding Registrar of the town in which the marriage takes place, i.e. the location of the church in question in which the marriage is to take place.

  3. The certificate of prerequisites for marriage by religious ceremony is valid for three months after date of issue.

  4. The religious marriage must be performed on the base of the valid certificate, otherwise the civil marriage effects do not take place.

  5. The clergyman of the religious community in front of which the marriage took place is obligated to deliver to the Wedding Registrar the certificate on the marriage. The certificate stating that the marriage took place is signed by bride, groom, witnesses and the clergyman of the religious community.

  6. The marriage performed in religious form is then entered by the Wedding Registrar in the Official register of marriages and then he issues a Marriage Certificate.

  7. The certificate from the Official register of marriages is a proof that the marriage which was performed by religious ceremony has all the effects of the civil marriage and is valid from the day of marriage.

Payments and Fees related to Marriage
Costs of the marriage process relate to the fees and special taxes, and this again depends on the form in which the marriage took place, but also on demands of the bride and groom.

Fees and Payments for Civil Marriage

  1. notification of marriage, i.e. a fee prescribed for composition of the minutes on the request for marriage in the amount of HRK 100.00 (cca. USD 18.00).

  2. for the marriage in front of the wedding registrar the fee amounts to HRK 200.00 (cca. USD 35.00),

  3. for marriage ceremony outside the official premises there is a special fee to be paid, which depends on:

    - the distance between the official premise and the location on which the marriage is to take place,
    - when the marriage is to take place,
    - marriage ceremony is taking place on Sunday, on official Holidays or on non-working days.
  1. For calculation of the amount of the fee to be paid there is a Basis for Calculation which is the average gross pay by an employee in the Republic of Croatia according to the latest official data published by the State Department for Statistics in the moment when the marriage notification is made.

  2. Depending on each single case fees are determined separately:

    - for the distance from the official premises and the location on which the marriage is to take place in the amount of 10-20% of the Basis for Calculation,
    - for the time required for the marriage ceremony to take place (during day) 10-30% of the Basis for Calculation.
  1. The sum of the defined amounts represents a fee for marriage outside the official premises and if the marriage takes place on Sunday, on official Holidays or on non-working days, the amount mentioned above is increased by 100%.

  2. For the first certificate from the Wedding Registry there is no fee – as it is issued ex officio.

  3. Each single additional copy required by the parties is to be paid:

    - tax of HRK 20.00 (cca. USD 3.50) the same as for any other certificate, and
    - a fee for the model form amounting HRK 5.00 (cca. USD 1.00).

Fees and Payments for Religious Marriage with Effects of Civil Marriage

  1. notification of marriage, i.e. a fee prescribed for minutes on the request for marriage in the amount of HRK 100.00 (cca. USD 18.00).

  2. for the certificate of prerequisites for marriage by religious ceremony is to be paid:

    - fee on request in the amount of HRK 20.00 (cca. USD 3.50)
    - fee for issuing a certificate in the amount of HRK 20.00 (cca. USD 3.50)
    - fee for the blank form of the certificate in the amount of HRK 10.00 (cca. USD 2.00), but it is issued in two copies therefore the fee overall amounts to HRK 20.00 (cca. USD 3.50)
  1. for the first certificate from the Wedding Registry there is no fee - as it is issued ex officio.

  2. Each single additional copy required by the parties is to be paid:

    - tax of HRK 20.00 (cca. USD 3.50) the same as for any other certificate, and
    - a fee for the model form amounting HRK 5.00 (cca. USD 1.00).
    For the payment of official fees the Law on Exemption of Payment of Official Fees is applied, with the prerequisite that the parties that are due to pay the fee fulfil the conditions prescribed by the law.

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