Everything you need to know about marriage in the Czech Republic

24 Mar 2023·19 min to read
Articles
Everything you need to know about marriage in the Czech Republic 01

Marriage is one of the most important events in the lives of Czechs. Both the Czechs and foreign nationals get married in a civil or church ceremony. Civil and religious marriages are both legally binding in the Czech Republic, with most citizens being Christians. Over 50,000 marriages are held in the country annually, and more than 70% of the Czechs are irreligious or atheists. In the remaining 30%, most of the religious people are of the Christian faith. Traditional, symbolic, and secular marriages are also quite popular due to the number of people who have no religious ties.

In the Czech Republic, the legal age for a spouse to marry is 18 years. People ages 16 or 17 may be able to get married in special circumstances with the provision of parental or guardian consent as well as court authorization. A marriage can only be formed after a consensual declaration from both parties involved. It is illegal to force a marriage through stolen identity, fraud, coercion, or threats. If any marriage is held in this instance, it is illegal and nullified under the laws of the Czech Republic.
Marriage in the country is open to both nationals and foreigners of different religious or traditional backgrounds. To get married in the country, the couple must meet certain requirements, which will be touched on in the other sections of this article. Let’s get started on everything you should know about Czech marriages.

Civil Marriage

In the Czech Republic, a civil marriage ceremony is held at a town hall and performed by a public official such as a counselor, mayor, or deputy mayor. Civil marriage is the most popular type of marriage in the Czech Republic due to the fact that most of the citizens of the country are not religious and hence cannot hold religious ceremonies. Civil marriages are often followed by a traditional or secular ceremony where a party is held before the honeymoon. To conduct a civil marriage in the Czech Republic, there are certain conditions that are required for both spouses.

The ceremony must include the sharing of marriage vows in the presence of at least two witnesses provided by both parties. Once couples are married, they are bound to live together and have joint property. This can only be changed in cases where a prenuptial agreement that states otherwise for a marriage contract is filled out and signed by both couples. Married couples are expected to mutually respect and honor each other and help create a healthy lifestyle and environment for each other as well as their children. There are certain documents that are required from both parties to submit during the marriage application and registration process, which are stated below:

Documents required (for nationals and foreigners)

Couples are expected to visit the office of vital records in the municipal office where the wedding ceremony will take place. The documents that are required of both spouses are stated below:

  • A copy of the government-issued birth certificate
  • A certificate of one’s nationality, such as a passport, ID, etc.
  • Certificate of marital status and residence. This paperwork must state the current marital status of the spouse to serve as evidence that they are single and not in any form of relationship or marriage with another person other than their spouse. Evidence of residence in the Czech Republic must also be provided, and this document must have been issued more than six months ago. It must demonstrate that the required minimum time spent in the country has been met.
  • Certificate of no impediment to marriage. This paperwork serves as proof that a spouse is facing no current obstacles or prohibitions with regards to getting married in the Czech Republic. There is some vital information that this document must contain for it to be approved. These include the document's first and last name, date of birth and place of birth, record of citizenship, permanent address, as well as the date of issue and an official stamp indicating that it has been legally authenticated.
  • Confirmation of legal residency status in the Czech Republic This paperwork applies to non-EU citizens. Spouses can apply for this document at the Department of Foreign Police. which cannot be more than seven days old on the planned wedding day
  • Divorce or death certificates. This applies only to spouses who were previously married. A spouse who was in a relationship or marriage that ended legally must submit a divorce certificate, and if the former spouse is deceased, a death certificate must be provided.

All the paperwork issued by authorities in a foreign country must be appropriately notarized and translated by a court-approved translator into the official Czech Republic language. The translation must be attached to all notarized or original copies of the documents, and they must include the standard translator clause. This clause states that the translation has the same meaning as the original text. Couples are required to go through the documents to make sure all information, such as their name and arrangements, has not been altered.
All the documents issued to the spouses by foreign authorities must be legalized and authorized by a certificate known as the apostille or, sometimes, by superlegislation. The two methods of legalizing documents in the Czech Republic have specific areas where they are used, and the registrar usually tells the couple which types of legislation will be done with all the submitted documents.

Religious Marriage

Most of the religious citizens of the Czech Republic are Christians. Christian marriages are held in the church and performed according to the ceremonial rites and doctrines of the Christian faith and the church’s denomination. The wedding officiant is an authorized clergyman, such as a priest, who has the power to make the couple husband and wife. A church wedding ceremony may only be performed by an authorized representative of a registered church or religious association. For a religious marriage to be recognized and protected by law in the Czech Republic, the spouses are required to submit the same set of documents as are required in the civil ceremony. 

The spouses must make contact with the registry office in the same area as the religious organization where the marriage will take place. The couples are required to obtain a certificate providing confirmation that all the statutory conditions that are present under the Czech Family Law have been duly met. This document is to be submitted to the authorized representative of the couple's religious organization within a period of three months. Upon the submission of this, the religious association (church) is required to submit a record of the wedding document to the registry office no later than 3 days after the wedding.

Everything you need to know about marriage in the Czech Republic 02

Marriage Traditions in the Czech Republic

There are several unique marriage traditions in the Czech Republic; however, a lot of the customs and rites also have their origins in the religion of Christianity. Marriage rituals are performed to ensure married couples' happiness and long lives, as well as to prevent illness and bad luck. Some of the popular marriage traditions in the Czech Republic are stated below:

Haul In 

This tradition is a popular ceremonial rite that is performed during the religious ceremony. Here, the groom props up a rope that has been decorated with flowers, ribbons, and other beautiful ornaments at the front of the church after the ceremony. The newlyweds are not allowed to cross until the groom is able to cut the rope as a way of washing away the sins of his youth.

Plate Breaking 

This ceremonial rite is also popular in different parts of the world. It usually takes place at the beginning of the wedding reception, where a plate is broken at the feet of the newlywed couples by their family and friends. The couple is required to sweep the chips together, and it is believed in the country that this act will bring happiness and peace to the married couple.

Kidnapping the bride

This tradition is usually done when the reception is coming to an end. Friends of the bride typically kidnap her in her wedding party and transport her to an unknown location unknown to the groom. This is used to symbolize the bride's separation from her family and how she is moving into a new era. The groom is tasked with locating the whereabouts of his bride by solving different puzzles, finding clues, or playing games provided to him by the rest of their friends. When he solves the puzzles and locates the bride, he is requested to pay a ransom before he gets the bride back. This tradition is usually done for the purpose of fun and to foster beautiful relationships and memories between the newlyweds and their family and friends.

Sprinkling flower petals 

This is a common tradition in western countries where a flower girl leads the procession in the church and sprinkles different flower petals on the floor for the bride and groom to walk on. The flower girls are usually the nieces of the engaged couple or the daughters of friends of either the bride or the groom. This tradition is done because of how beautiful it is, and there is also a belief that it signifies fertility in the marriage.

Eating soup together

This is a ceremonial rite that is unique to the Czechs and usually takes place during the wedding reception. The bride and groom are often joined together by a big cloth to symbolize their unity, and they are presented with soup in one bowl, which they must finish together to represent their cooperation and how well they work together as husband and wife. It is also common for both couples to be given a loaf of bread that has been cut into two equal parts. They may have to eat this alongside the soup or separately, which also symbolizes unity and cooperation between the newlyweds.

Same-sex marriage and polygamy

Same-sex marriages are legal in the Czech Republic. The country began recognizing and protecting marriages between two people of the same sex in 2006. Couples in same-sex marriages enjoy most of the rights and benefits available to opposite-sex marriages. Some of the rights enjoyed include hospital visitation rights, inheritance rights, spousal privilege, alimony rights, and jail and prison visitation rights. However, there are certain rights that are not available to registered partnerships or same-sex unions. These are rights to own joint property, joint adoption, and a widow’s pension. Also, the Czech Republic recognizes unregistered cohabitation between couples.

Polygamy is illegal and prohibited by law in the Czech Republic. A man or woman is not allowed to have more than one partner at a time. If a person was previously married, they must ensure it has been lawfully terminated before proceeding to enter a new relationship or marriage. This offense is referred to as bigamy, and the prohibition is enforced in the Czech Republic. If a foreigner is to get married in the country, they are also bound by these laws, regardless of whether it is permitted in their own country.

Everything you need to know about marriage in the Czech Republic 03

Marriage Laws and Rights: Costs and Duties

Laws and Rights

The minimum legal age a person is allowed to get married in the Czech Republic is 18 years. Underage marriages are prohibited unless accompanied by written consent from parents or guardians and court authorization. Polygamy is illegal and prohibited under the laws of the country. A man or woman is not allowed to have more than one partner at a time, and if this situation arises, it can result in jail time. Marriage is not permitted between people who are related by blood or by a degree of consanguinity and affinity. Marriage is also not permitted between a guardian and his or her ward, as well as between a foster parent and a foster child.

The man and the woman have fears about being treated equally and fairly. Both spouses have the right to own joint property upon marriage and are both responsible for the assets and any liabilities incurred by either or both spouses. An individual is only entitled to his or her own property when a prenuptial agreement has been signed to authorize this. Both partners have the right to work and earn a living. A married couple has the right to freedom of association and entitlement to marriage benefits provided by the government. Both partners have the right to custody of the children as well as the right to leave the marriage of their own free will after providing reasons and obtaining court approval.

Costs 

The average cost of a civil ceremony in the Czech Republic is typically less than 10,000 CZK. The major expenses that may be incurred include the documents for permanent residence (for one or both spouses), requesting some required paperwork, and if the wedding ceremony is to be held in a different venue from the registry.
Traditional wedding ceremonies cost between 30,000 and 50,000 CZK. The amount of money spent on a wedding ceremony largely depends on the couple and their families. The number of guests as well as the venue used are big determinants of how expensive the wedding ceremony will be. Major expenses are also derived from pre-wedding rites, the buying of rings, and the honeymoon.

Duties

In the Czech Republic, the majority of the duties and obligations of both partners in a marriage are traditional. The law emphasizes equality between a man and a woman in a marriage. Spouses owe each other the obligation of mutual honor and respect for each other’s dignity. The man and woman are expected to live together, stay faithful, support each other, create a healthy family relationship, jointly manage various duties in the household, and also take care of their children.
Spouses are expected to make decisions affecting the family and jointly own assets together. When dealing with various things that fulfill the family’s needs, the man and woman must seek each other’s consent and ensure they are both on the same page. The spouses owe the obligation of love and care to each other, their children, and the rest of their household.

Conclusion   

The marriage process in the Czech Republic is straightforward. Both civil and religious marriages are legally binding, and the documents required for both types of marriages are largely similar. Foreign spouses must request some documents, such as a confirmation of their single status, from their home country. The document must show they are eligible and not prohibited from getting married in the Czech Republic. Most spouses are able to obtain this document at the embassy of their home country in the Czech Republic.

Civil marriages mostly precede traditional and secular marriages because over half of the population of the Czech Republic is irreligious. Some couples who are religious often hold a wedding reception after the church ceremony is concluded too, where they get to celebrate with their friends and family. All marriages held in the country must be consensual, and any union held otherwise is void under the law. We hope this article has helped you understand everything you need to know about marriage in the Czech Republic.

Related