Everything you need to know about marriage in Slovakia

11 Apr 2023·19 min to read
Articles
Everything you need to know about marriage in Slovakia 01

Slovakia, officially known as the Slovak Republic, is a Central European country famous for its hot springs, unique castles, folk architecture, and caves. Every year, over 25,000 marriages are celebrated in Slovakia by native Slovaks and foreigners from other parts of the world. There are different types of ways to get married in Slovakia; however, the most popular forms of marriage are civil and Catholic Church weddings. This is because these two forms of marriage are legally binding and protected by law across the country. Other types of marriage, such as traditional, symbolic, and secular weddings, are also performed, but they must be registered civilly for them to be recognized in Slovakia.

Slovakia has a rich and diverse culture with various regional traditions and customs when it comes to weddings. Some weddings in Slovakia can be long, big, and colorful, while others may be more low-key and intimate. In some regions, weddings can last for several days, with various ceremonies, rituals, and celebrations.

According to the Slovakian Family Law, marriage can only be entered into by consenting adults who are over 18 years of age, without any restrictions based on gender, religion, or nationality. Any marriage that involves a person under the age of 18 is considered child marriage and is illegal in Slovakia. In some cases, foreign partners perform symbolic marriages in Slovakia and then decide if they will be registering such unions in their home country. Continue reading to find out more about the marriage customs and traditions in Slovakia.

Civil Marriages 

In Slovakia, a civil marriage is the legal process of getting married that is performed by an authorized official known as a "register office" or "matrika." Couples who wish to get married in Slovakia must first apply for a marriage certificate at the relevant local register office. To begin the marriage registration process in the country, spouses must provide certain documents, including valid identification documents such as passports, birth certificates, and certificates of no impediment to marriage. 

Both partners must also be present at the register office when applying for the marriage certificate. Marriage by proxy or through third parties is not allowed in Slovakia except under dire circumstances. After obtaining the marriage certificate, the couple must schedule a date for the civil ceremony, which is typically held at the register office. During the ceremony, the couple declares their intention to enter into marriage, and the authorized official confirms that all legal requirements have been met before pronouncing the couple as married. Once the marriage ceremony is performed, the partners will be provided with a government-issued marriage certificate. 

Furthermore, a Slovak civil marriage is recognized as a legally binding union and provides couples with the same rights and responsibilities as those who get married through religious ceremonies or other cultural traditions. Foreign partners must ensure all their documents are translated into Slovak, as this is the official language in the country, and they must include an apostille as proof of originality. The documents that must be provided by both partners are stated below.

Documents Required 

  • A valid means of identification such as a national ID card or passport
  • Proof of residence in Slovakia prior to the marriage ceremony
  • Government-issued birth certificates with the names of both spouses as they are currently addressed
  • Divorce or death certificate. Separated or widowed spouses will be required to provide either of these documents to show they legally terminated their former marriages.
  • Certificate of no impediment to marriage. This document will show that both partners have the freedom to marry and are not in any other marriage or union at home or abroad.

Religious Marriages 

Religious marriage ceremonies in Slovakia are not considered legally binding on their own, but they can be followed by a civil ceremony to make the marriage legally recognized by the state. The predominant religion in Slovakia is Christianity, with over 68 percent of the total population, and only Catholic marriages are legally recognized. Marriages performed by other Christian denominations or religions are not legally binding in the country. To be considered legally binding, a Catholic wedding in Slovakia must be performed by a priest who is registered with the Slovakian government and authorized to conduct marriages. 

The couple must also obtain a marriage certificate from the relevant local authorities and comply with all legal requirements for marriage in Slovakia, which can be processed through the church. Couples who wish to have a Christian marriage in Slovakia must meet any additional requirements set by the church, such as premarital counseling, which can last for up to six weeks. After the completion of marriage ceremonies under other religions, the couple may choose to have a civil ceremony to make their marriage legally recognized by the state.

Marriage traditions in Slovakia

Stealing the bride

This is a popular Slovakian wedding ritual also referred to as bridenapping." It is a playful Slovakian wedding tradition in which the groom and his friends must complete a series of tasks or pay a ransom to "steal" the bride from her family. It is usually done in good spirits and is meant to be a fun way to involve the groom's friends in the wedding festivities.

Hair Braiding 

This is a traditional Slovakian wedding custom in which the bride's hair is braided by her female family members. The braided hair is a symbol of the bride's readiness for marriage. The ceremonial rite is often performed a few weeks before the official wedding day.

The Wedding Dance

Wedding dances are very popular in Slovakian weddings and can last several hours or run all night in big ceremonies. Slovakian weddings often feature traditional folk music and dances. One popular dance is the Kolo, a circle dance that is performed by holding hands and moving in a circular motion.

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Same-sex Marriages 

Same-sex unions, partnerships, and marriages are not recognized or protected by law in Slovakia. The status of homosexuality is legal in the country; however, spouses who fall under this category have limited rights when compared to opposite-sex couples. LGBT couples are not allowed to enjoy most of the marriage benefits available to opposite-sex couples, and only single homosexuals are allowed to adopt in Slovakia.

Polygamous Marriages 

Polygamy is not legal in Slovakia. The country's Family Law explicitly prohibits multiple marriages, stating that a person may only be married to one other person at a time. Any attempt to enter into multiple marriages or to live in a polygamous relationship is considered a criminal offense under Slovakian law.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties

Laws

The laws of marriage in Slovakia are governed by the amended Family Act of 2019. This law not only applies to couples who wish to be married legally but also to couples who opt for Christian marriages. In Slovakia, the law allows marriage between a Slovakian citizen and a foreigner; however, they must follow the laws of marriage in the country to the letter before the marriage can be considered legally binding. The law states that before anyone can be deemed fit for marriage, he or she must have met the age requirement, which states that both the husband and wife must be at least 18 years old before contracting marriage. 

However, an exception is made for couples who are between the ages of 16 and 18, but they must be able to provide parental consent or the consent of a legal guardian or legal representative. To be legally married in Slovakia, both the husband and wife must not be related to each other in a prohibited degree of kinship. According to the law, both the husband and wife must be single at the time of marriage. If one or both spouses have been married in the past, they must be able to provide valid documentation, such as a divorce certificate or a death certificate, showing that the previous marriage is no longer existent. 

They are also required to provide valid identification documents such as birth certificates, proof of a personal identification number, proof of permanent residence, and proof of citizenship. A foreign spouse is required to provide an ID or passport, proof of citizenship, proof of marital status, proof of permanent residence, a birth certificate, etc., and these must be submitted to the civil registry office at least 14 days before the chosen date for the ceremony. The wedding ceremony can take place in a registry office, a church, or any other location agreed upon by the couple and the registrar. 

Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony, and they must be 18 years of age or older. In Slovakia, marriage registration is compulsory. Marriage in Slovakia must be registered with the local registry office (Matrin rad) in the district where one of the parties resides. The couple must submit an application to the registry office at least 30 days before the planned wedding date. After the wedding ceremony, the couple will receive a marriage certificate, which is an official document proving their marriage is legally binding. Same-sex marriage and de facto cohabitation between people of the same sex are not allowed in Slovakia.

Rights

There are a wide range of rights and legal protections that are available to married couples in Slovakia. Some of these rights are only available to couples in registered partnerships if they have entered into a specific agreement. Couples have the right to marry in Slovakia as long as they meet the legal requirements set out in the Family Act. The family law of Slovakia grants couples equal property rights. Couples who are married or in a registered partnership have the right to own and manage property jointly. In the case of divorce or dissolution of a registered partnership, the property is divided equally between the parties, unless there is a prenuptial agreement. 

Spouses have the right to divorce in Slovakia if their marriage has irretrievably broken down. The divorce process can be lengthy and complicated, but couples have the right to seek legal advice and representation to protect their interests. Spouses and registered partners have certain inheritance rights under Slovakian law. In the event of the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to inherit a portion of the deceased spouse's estate. The Slovakian government grants Married couples with children are eligible for certain family benefits, such as parental leave, child care benefits, and tax credits. 

In terms of healthcare, spouses have the right to make important medical decisions for one another in the event that the other is unable to. They also have the right to be covered under their partner's health insurance. Anyone who is legally married or in a registered partnership has the right to adopt children in Slovakia. However, they must meet certain eligibility criteria and legal requirements. Couples have the right to fair treatment and equal justice. They both have the right to contribute to the wellbeing of the family according to their means.

Costs

The cost of marriage in Slovakia largely depends on the preferences of the couple and a number of factors. However, it is important for couples to know the average cost of getting married in order to ensure the wedding budget is affordable. The fee for registering a marriage in Slovakia is €66. This fee is payable to the local registry office (Matrin rad), where the couple is registering their marriage. The cost of a wedding venue is one of the major determinants of the total cost of a wedding in Slovakia. 

The cost of the wedding venue can vary depending on the location and the services required. Registry offices typically offer simple and affordable wedding ceremonies, while more elaborate weddings at a hotel or other wedding venue can cost several thousand euros. The cost of wedding attire can also vary depending on personal preferences and budget. A simple wedding dress or suit can cost a few hundred euros, while more elaborate and designer outfits often cost several thousand euros. 

Determining the cost of wedding rings varies depending on the materials, design, and preferences of the couple. Simple gold or silver bands can cost a few hundred euros, while diamond or other precious stone rings can cost several thousand euros. The cost of photography and videography at the ceremony depends on the length of coverage, the quality of the equipment used, and the experience of the photographer or videographer. Prices can range from a few hundred euros to several thousand euros.

Duties

In Slovakia, couples have certain duties and responsibilities towards each other, as well as towards their family and society. It is important for couples to communicate openly and work together to fulfill these duties and responsibilities in order to build a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Spouses have a duty to respect each other's rights, opinions, and beliefs. They should also support each other emotionally, financially, and in all aspects of life. Couples who have children have a duty to provide for their children's needs, including food, shelter, education, and healthcare. They should also provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children to grow and develop. 

Married Couples or couples in registered partnerships have a duty to manage their finances responsibly and to contribute to the family's financial stability. This includes paying bills, managing debts, and saving for the future. Both the husband and wife have a duty to share domestic responsibilities, such as household chores and caring for children or other family members. They should also respect each other's work and personal time. Married men and women have a duty to comply with the law and fulfill any legal obligations related to their marriage or partnership. This includes registering their marriage or partnership, paying taxes, and complying with any court orders or legal agreements.

Conclusion 

Slovakia is a member of the European Union and is bound by EU laws and regulations. Partners from other countries are allowed to get legally married in Slovakia, provided they abide by the country’s rules and regulations.

Polygamous relationships or marriages are not recognized or allowed in Slovakia, and individuals who engage in such relationships may face legal consequences. This article includes everything you need to know about marriage in Slovakia.

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