About marriage in Romania

There are a few important things that every foreign national needs to know about marriage in Romania. This article is useful either if you want to get married in Romania, or you already got married abroad and want to register your marriage to the Romanian authorities.
About marriage in Romania

We explain below some important aspects about marriage that you would want to keep in mind while living in Romania. You will certainly find very useful de following information.

Marriage taking place in Romania

In what regards marriage on Romanian territory, you may want to know that the Romanian authorities legally recognize only those civil ceremonies that take place and are formalized in any Romanian City Hall Office of the locality where one of the future spouses lives.

As per the Romanian religious orthodox tradition, there are many couples who decide to have a religious ceremony after the civil ceremony. Yet, you have to know that the religious ceremony is not mandatory. On the other hand, if you really want to do it, you can do it on any other day than the civil ceremony. It doesn’t have to be in the same day with the civil ceremony.

The religious ceremony generally takes place at a local church. There are also priests who accept to formalize the marriage in other places than a church. However, you have to speak to them before to ensure they accept it, and arrange for the ceremony in time.

There is a list of documents that you need to prepare in time, so the City Hall Office can formalize your marriage with a Romanian citizen. These documents are:

  • Passport (with the valid Romanian visa, if the case);
  • Birth certificate, plus a notarized translation in Romanian. This can be obtained from any Romanian notary office. The birth certificate must also be apostilled/legalized by the authorities in your home country;
  • Prenuptial Certificates for both future spouses. The documents can be obtained from any medical clinic in Romania, and are valid for 14 days from the issue date;
  • An official document issued by your country’s embassy in Romania, or a notarized statement that you are not married and meet the conditions required by your national law for the conclusion of marriage in Romania;
  • Certified copy of proof of termination of any other previous marriages (if the case), with legalized a translation into Romanian.

Other documents may be required by the civil officer if he/she deems it necessary.

If you want to schedule the marriage ceremony for a certain date, you must submit the marriage request file to the city hall with at least 2 weeks before the desired date of the marriage. Please bear in mind that both partners must be present for the registration ceremony.

Keep also in mind that, in Romania, both partners must be at least 18 years old to get married. If one of the partners is a foreign national, they may need to provide a certificate of no impediment to marriage from their home country.

Who can get married in Romania?

Romanian authorities are opened to marriages between anyone, regardless of their nationality, religion, or skin color. Yet, at this moment, Romania only allows heterosexual, monogamous marriages. This means that one cannot legally conclude a second marriage if he/she is already married, nor a marriage of the same sex, in Romania.

There is no legal recognition for same-sex partnerships, and there are no laws that provide for any form of domestic partnership or cohabitation rights. Despite this, there have been efforts in recent years to legalize same-sex marriage in Romania. Maybe the most important one, in 2016, was a proposal to hold a nationwide referendum on whether to amend the Constitution to include recognition of same-sex relationships. This proposal was eventually rejected.

There are a few basic conditions that apply for a marriage to be able to take place. These conditions are:

  • At least one of the future spouses must be resident or domiciled in Romania;
  • Both future spouses are at least 18 years old, and do not suffer from any diseases that could endanger public health;
  • Both future spouses are single, widowed, or divorced.

Marriage outside Romania

If you got married in your home country and need to get a Romanian marriage certificate as well (issued by the Romanian authorities), you don’t have to organize for a marriage ceremony in Romania. You just need to apply for a transcription of your foreign marriage certificate.

The transcription of the marriage can be done at the same city hall (where the Romanian spouse resides in Romania). Alternatively, if you are not already in Romania, then the transcription application can be submitted also to the Romanian consular section in your home country, and where you got married.

The following are the main documents that must be part of the transcription application file:

  • the original foreign marriage certificate, together with a legalized translation into Romanian; the document must bear the apostille/legalization of the authorities in your home country, unless exempted;
  • Passport (with the valid Romanian visa, if the case);
  • Birth certificate, plus a notarized translation in Romanian. This can be obtained from any Romanian notary office. The birth certificate must also be apostilled/legalized by the authorities in your home country;
  • Notarized statement (signed by both spouses) that there is no other transcription of the same marriage certificate in Romania;

Similar resources: What’s my marriage regime in Romania? Important aspects to know in advance

Does Romania recognize partnerships or other forms of informal cohabitation?

As per the Romanian civil law, civil marriage is the only valid form of marriage, legally recognized by the Romanian state. So, this actually means that any type of common-law marriage, partnership or cohabitation, or religious marriage is not legally valid.

From a religious perspective, the marriage can be celebrated according to the desired rites of the spouses, only after the civil ceremony has taken place.

Some rights and obligations arising from cohabitation can be regulated by private agreements between the partners. For example, partners can agree on issues related to property ownership, financial support, and decision-making regarding their common household. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that these agreements are not legally binding.

So, any other form of partnership does not carry the same weight as a marriage contract. If partners wish to formalize their relationship, they may choose to get married, as this is the only option available under Romanian law for formalizing a relationship.

Read also: Taxation on property sale in Romania – how does it work in practice?

Marriage annulment

Annulment of marriage in Romania can only take place under specific circumstances, such as if one of the partners was under 18 years of age at the time of the wedding, or if the wedding was not performed in accordance with Romanian law, or if either partner was unable to give valid consent due to mental incapacity.

The annulment process can be initiated by either partner, and it usually involves a review of the circumstances surrounding the marriage by a court. The court will consider evidence such as the partners’ ages at the time of the wedding, the mental state of the partners, and whether the partners understood the nature and consequences of the marriage.

If the court finds that the marriage was never valid, it will issue a declaration of nullity, which will retroactively cancel the marriage. This means that the parties are treated as if they were never married, and they are free to marry again if they wish.

Divorce in Romania

According to Article 38 from the Romanian Family Code, a marriage can be ended through a divorce in two ways. There is a friendly divorce by mutual agreement and judicial divorce (in court). A friendly divorce is the most advisable way to solve divorce. From a procedural perspective, a friendly divorce can be done:

  • either at the local city hall office, with the condition that there are no children involved, or
  • at any local public notary office (can be done even if there are children involved, and the spouses mutually agree on the necessary arrangements after the marriage).

In both cases above there is a legal term of 30 days within which the spouses have the time to reflect and take a final divorce decision. Only after the expiration of this term can the divorce process be finalized.

To start a divorce procedure in court, you must file a ‘’Petition’’ in the court of the last common residence in Romania, in the case at least one of the spouses resides in that jurisdiction. If not, then the ‘’Petition’’ must be filed with the court of the defendant’s domicile. There are no specific rules for foreigners when it comes to divorce.

The Romanian divorce law applies even in those cases where one of the spouses is an expat. The period of time for finalizing the divorce depends on the chosen procedure. However, it may vary between 60 days and 3 months. As regards the judicial procedure, the divorce’s duration depends on various factors such as the grounds for divorce and whether one of the spouses is at fault or not.

It is also important to know that the spouses can agree to keep their married name after the divorce. From reasons justified by the interest of one of the spouses, the court may consent to the spouses keeping their married name, even in those cases when there is no agreement between the spouses. In case no agreement has been reached in this sense, then each of the former spouses must revert to their name before the marriage.

Read also: Obtaining Romanian citizenship – applicable rules and conditions

Ovidiu Ivanof

Ovidiu Ivanof

Lawyer

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