Everything you need to know about marriage in Moldova
Moldova is an Eastern European country famous for its forests, vineyards, and wines. The Republic of Moldova is a popular tourist country, with a focus on its natural landscapes and history. Every year, over 20,000 marriages are performed in Moldova by Moldovan nationals and other foreigners who moved to the country or are visiting. Moldovans hold marriages to high standards, and they are seen as very special occasions in their lives. There is only one way to legally get married in Moldova, and this is by contracting a civil marriage. Other forms of marriage are accepted; however, they are not legally binding.
Marriage is seen as a holy occasion, and even though religious marriages are not legally binding, most Moldovans still perform them after the civil marriage is concluded. Arranged marriages used to be popular in Moldova, where the families took care of the whole marriage preparation. Here, the groom's family would choose a suitable bride for him that could fit the status of the family. Some criteria, like education, beauty, and the background of the spouse, were used to determine if she would be a good fit for the family; however, this was in the past. Moldovan spouses now have complete freedom over who they marry and how the ceremony is conducted; however, it is still necessary to obtain parental consent and blessings prior to the marriage.
The legal marriage age in Moldova is 18 years for both male and female spouses. The exception to this rule only allowed spouses aged 16 or 17 to get married with the provision of parental consent. Under no circumstances will a person below the age of 16 be allowed to solemnize a marriage in Moldova. As you read on, you will find out more about the marriage traditions in Moldova as well as the laws and rights guiding the act of marriage in this country. Let’s get started.
In Moldova, only civil marriages performed in the city hall are recognized. This type of marriage must be officiated by a state-authorized registrar, and the city hall used must be in the area or district where the Moldovan citizen resides. To get married civilly in the country, the bride and groom are required to register at the civil status office (ZAGS). Foreign spouses getting married in the country are often required to pay a marriage tax before the ceremony is allowed to take place on the territory of Moldova.
A marriage declaration must be made by both spouses getting married, and after this is done, the future spouses will then receive a recommendation or referral for free medical tests and examinations. This medical exam is compulsory, and its purpose is to show that both spouses are not facing any underlying medical conditions that could prevent the marriage from happening. Different tests to ensure the mental and physical health of the spouses are compatible are very important. The results of the medical examination must be submitted at the civil status office along with the marriage declaration.
The marriage registration must be completed within a period of one month from when the marriage declaration is submitted by the spouses. Foreign spouses must ensure their documents are translated by an authorized translator into Romanian, the official language in Moldova. All documents obtained from foreign countries must include an apostille to prove their legitimacy. In Moldova, the two partners who are getting married must be single and not in any form of relationship with any other person, both at home and abroad, at the time of submitting the marriage application. Partners of the same sex are not allowed to marry in Moldova. This also applies to foreign spouses. Before the marriage is solemnized, the registrar verifies that both partners are entering the marriage of their own free will. Only then will marriage be allowed to happen in the country. The documents that must be submitted by spouses getting married in Moldova are stated below.
- A marriage declaration must be submitted by both spouses.
- Both spouses are required to provide a valid means of identification, such as a national ID card or passport.
- The two spouses must provide original copies of their birth certificates.
- Divorce or death certificate. This must be provided by spouses who were previously married as evidence that all previous marriages were legally terminated.
- Both partners must provide two witnesses who will also sign the marriage certificate.
Conditions where a marriage will not be registered in Moldova
- The two partners getting married are of the same sex
- One or both spouses are already married.
- The marriage is between two people who are related to each other. This includes parents, siblings, and other close relatives that are related by blood or adoption.
- One or both spouses are below the legal marriage age with no parental consent.
- Either one or both partners are not entering the marriage as a result of their own free will.
- The partners are both convicted and are serving their sentences in prison.
Moldova is dominated by Orthodox Christians, who make up over 92 percent of the population. Other Christian denominations make up about 6 percent of the rest of the population, while the remaining 2 percent includes those that have no religious affiliations. Religious marriages are not recognized under the laws of Moldova. A civil marriage must be performed before a religious marriage can be performed. In fact, most churches often require the couple to provide a copy of their marriage certificate obtained from the registry before the marriage is allowed to take place in the church.
Getting married in the Orthodox Church is straightforward; however, there are also criteria that must be met by the couple. In most cases, the bride and groom are required to notify the whole church that they are getting married. There are two main ways in which this is done: either by making the announcement during a church service or by making a publication on the church notice board. Church marriages in Moldova are often attended by family, friends, and other members of the church, and they usually last up to two or three hours.
Marriage traditions in Moldova
This is a ceremony in Moldova that is performed before the actual wedding day. Here, the couple meets together with their respective families to discuss the plans they have for the wedding. This usually includes things such as the food to be served, attire to be worn, locations, photography, etc. During this engagement ceremony, old stories and drinks are shared by both families.
It is customary for the mother of the bride to bring a different person out when the groom goes to the bride's family house. This ceremonial rite is often performed comically, and a man could be under the veil. Once the groom opens the veil and sees that the person who was presented is not his wife, the family will demand a ransom, which must be paid before the actual bride is presented.
Multiple Wedding Receptions
The wedding reception in Moldova is usually a multi-day event that can last up to three days. It is customary for the bride and groom to show off their chora and dance of masks, which are traditional ceremonial dances. The wedding receptions are often followed by a lot of feasting and dancing by both families as well as other members of the wedding party and guests.
Same-sex and polygamous marriages in Moldova
Moldova recognizes same-sex sexual activity, but same-sex couples are not allowed to legally get married in the country. Households headed by same-sex couples generally do not enjoy the marriage rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples of the opposite sex.
Polygamous marriages are illegal in Moldova. Like in most other European countries, a single man is only allowed to marry a single woman. If spouses are found practicing this type of marriage, the offense is known as bigamy, which may result in the payment of fines or other legal consequences.
Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties
Moldovan marriages require that intending couples obey the laws of marriage before the marriage can take place. Couples must be eligible and capable of contracting marriage. According to the country’s Family Code, marriages must be conducted by the state registration services in Moldova before they can be considered legally binding. Based on the definition of marriage in the family code, marriage can only be contracted if the husband and wife have attained the legal age for marriage and they both give mutual, freely expressed consent without any external influence. The 2008 amended Family Code increased the legal minimum age for marriage for women from 16 to 18 years; it remains 18 for men, which puts both men and women on the same level of equality.
However, in certain circumstances, the legal age for marriage can be reduced by two years for both men and women, provided they receive permission from the appropriate authorities. Authorization to reduce the marriage age for both men and women must be obtained from the local government of the couple after they have received parental consent to marriage. According to the law, marriage between persons who are related is against the law; directly related persons such as brothers and sisters, both adopted and biological, are not allowed to contract marriage; persons who share a common ancestor such as uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc. are also prohibited from contracting marriage with one another. Foreigners are allowed to get married in Moldova, provided there is no legal impediment to marriage and they are both eligible to contract marriage in their home country.
Mixed marriages between foreigners and Moldovan citizens are also allowed, after all necessary documentation has been submitted and verified. The practice of polygamy is against the law in Moldova; a man is not allowed to marry more than one wife at the same time. Monogamy is the only recognized form of marriage in the country; alongside civil marriages, religious and traditional marriages do not have any legal value in the country. Both parties must be single at the time of marriage; there must not be any legal impediment to marriage; and if any of the couple have been previously married, they must be able to submit proof that such a marriage has been dissolved by presenting a certificate of death in the case of widowhood or divorce to the appropriate authorities.
There are rights that are available to couples by virtue of marriage, such as the right to life and liberty. The husband and wife have the right to live their lives as they see fit, without any limitations or discrimination. The husband and wife must not carry out any action that would jeopardize this right because doing so is a punishable offense under the law. They also enjoy the right to move around freely without any restrictions. Domestic abuse is a violation of this right and is punishable under the law. Couples have the right to be free of torture and treatment; the husband and wife have the right to be treated fairly at all times and must not inflict any form of pain or injury on one another.
Spouses enjoy the right to freedom of opinion; the wife has the same right as the husband to be recognized as the head of the home; therefore, the opinions of the wife as well as the husband must be equally respected. They are both entitled to the right to work under fair and favorable conditions and receive equal pay for work done. If the husband or wife wishes to continue his or her education after marriage, he or she has the right to do so. The family is an institution protected by the government; therefore, they have the right to social protection and financial assistance from the government when needed.
They have the right to enjoy adequate medical healthcare services as well as the right to own property and financial assets as they see fit. As stated earlier, they both have the right to be recognized as the head of the house, and therefore they are both entitled to be referred to as the legal guardians of the children as well as exercise parental authority at all times. Both the husband and wife have the right to decide on the family's domicile and to contract divorce in the event of a marriage breakdown.
Marriage in Moldova is quite cheap, depending on the preference of the couple and their financial ability. The average cost of a wedding in Moldova is estimated to be around €5,000 to as much as €20,000, depending on the lavishness of the ceremony. The average cost of hiring a photographer is estimated at €1,200–€3,000, with a session booked for €150 or more.
The cost of a videographer is estimated at €1,000–€2,500, depending on what the couple hopes to achieve. About 12 percent of the wedding budget goes into the hiring of a photographer and videographer. The remaining percentage of the wedding budget is carefully divided between the venue rental cost, catering cost, music and entertainment cost, transportation cost, and other miscellaneous costs. The cost of the venue and catering would take about 50 percent of the wedding budget.
The average hotel accommodation venue in Moldova is estimated to cost around $58 per night; therefore, the average cost of accommodation takes up about 20 percent of the wedding budget. The couple can hire a wedding planner to ease the stress that comes with planning a wedding, and wedding planners often have various prices; it is up to the couple to select which one suits them best.
Just like any other institution of marriage in the world, there are duties that the husband and wife must perform in the family to ensure the smooth running of the home. The duties are often distributed according to the gender roles of the husband and wife, but they can be carried out interchangeably or together. The husband is obligated to be the provider for the family and to ensure that all the needs of the family are met, but the wife can also help by contributing to this cause.
According to traditional gender roles, the wife is obligated to take care of the home, the children, and her husband as well as his family members. She is also responsible for all the housework and the management of the resources in the home. Despite this stereotype, the husband can also help the wife out by assisting when it comes to taking care of the children or providing support and assistance when needed. The couple must carry out their various roles to ensure the proper functionality of the family in society.
Moldovans are culturally diverse, and there are various marriage traditions that are performed in the country. Marriages are viewed as very special occasions, and Moldovans like to go big with their weddings, from the actual wedding ceremony to the reception.
Foreigners are also allowed to get married in the country through a straightforward process. Moldova does not allow marriages between same-sex couples, and partners must ensure they are facing no marriage restrictions before deciding to get married. We hope this article has provided you with everything you need to know about marriage in Moldova.
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