Everything you need to know about marriage in Venezuela
Venezuela is a beautiful South American country with various natural attractions and a diverse culture. Marriage in Venezuela is an amazing event that is looked forward to by couples and the rest of their family and friends. Thousands of marriage ceremonies are held in the country every year by Venezuelans and other foreign nationals from various countries around the world. The country has a lot of attractions that make it a perfect place for destination weddings. Some of the best destinations for weddings in the country include the Caracas Hotel Palace, the Old Providence Chapel, and Mountain View Farms.
The culture and traditions in Venezuela draw influences from several other cultures, mostly in South American countries, and several others, like Native American, Hispanic, German, Italian, etc. In the country, there are two main types of marriages: civil and religious marriages. In the country, civil marriage is the only legally binding type of marriage. For a religious or traditional marriage to be recognized and protected by law, a previous civil marriage must have been conducted. However, Venezuelans hold religious marriages in high esteem, and if a religious marriage is not officially performed, they generally do not entertain the idea that couples have gotten married. This is a major reason why it’s very common for Venezuelans to conduct two separate wedding ceremonies. one in the registry and the other in the church. The country is almost totally dominated by Christians, and church weddings are more popular than any other type of religious or traditional ceremony from other religious organizations. This article will touch on the types of marriages, customs, and traditions, as well as the laws, rights, and duties guiding marriage in Venezuela.
A civil marriage is recognized and protected by law in Venezuela. This type of marriage is conducted by an authorized registrar and takes place in the registry. The registrar is often a functionary or government official. This is the most important marriage, which must be held before other types of marriages such as traditional or symbolic weddings are held. For a marriage to be legally binding in Venezuela, it must comply with and be in accordance with all the rules and regulations stated in the country’s civil code. This law applies to both foreigners and Venezuelan citizens. So, a foreign spouse getting married in the country must ensure they are following all the rules and laws in Venezuela, even if they are different from those of their home country. A civil marriage is often performed two weeks before the actual wedding day, and since it is the only type of marriage that is legally binding, couples must ensure it is fully concluded before a religious marriage takes place and not vice versa. To marry in Venezuela, there are some conditions that must be met by both spouses, whether they are foreign or local. These conditions are as follows:
Conditions for marriage
- Both spouses must be at least 18 years old. Couples who are under the minimum legal age requirement in the country must obtain parental or guardian consent to get married.
- Marriage to people under the age of 18 also has its own limits. A female must be at least 14 years old, and a male must be between the ages of 16 and 18.
- Both parties must have the legal capacity to get married. This implies that both spouses must have met other conditions, such as no health or mental issues, and no blood relations or links through consanguinity or affinity must exist between both partners.
- Siblings and other close relatives are not permitted to get married.
- The marriage must have been entered through the free will and consent of both partners.
- A Venezuelan marriage must not be forced, and both partners must provide their consent, either verbally or in writing, to show that they are both getting married of their own free will.
- Both spouses must ensure they are eligible for marriage in the country. Before a marriage can take place, the former spouse's divorce or death certificate, as well as evidence of separation or death, must be provided.
Venezuelans and foreign nationals getting married in the country must provide some documents at the civil office where the marriage will be performed during the application and registration process. These documents are stated below.
- A valid means of identification such as the national ID or passport
- Both spouses must submit a certified copy of their birth certificates. This must be a recent certificate that was issued not more than six months before the planned date of the actual wedding ceremony.
- Both spouses must provide a fideicomiso de carteles. This is an affidavit in which the couples express their desire to marry of their own free will and consent. The document is often drawn up by the marriage official or registrar.
- Divorce or death certificate. This must be provided by a partner who was in a former relationship to serve as evidence of their legal termination of the previous marriage due to the death or separation of the former spouse.
- Both partners are required to provide witnesses who are of legal age and are not related to them by blood or affinity.
All the documents must be duly filled out by the couples, witnesses, and registrar. The documents required may slightly vary depending on the status of the couple as well as the registry office where the wedding will be held. All documents requested by foreign authorities must be notarized, apostille, and translated into Spanish by a qualified translator.
A religious marriage on its own is not legally binding in Venezuela. For a religious marriage to be legally binding, a civil marriage must be held beforehand. This must take place in the municipality in which either of the couple resides. Religious marriages in Venezuela are mostly performed in churches because the majority of the country's population is Christian. About 88% of Venezuelans are Christians, with over 70% of them belonging to the Roman Catholic Church denomination. There are other religions present in the country, such as Islam or Hinduism, but their populations are quite small.
Religion is very important to the Venezuelans, and the church marriage must be performed after the civil ceremony for the couple to be considered officially married.
Marriage traditions in Venezuela
This is the first phase of the ceremonial rites involved in Venezuelan marriages. Engagements are held in high regard in the country, and the family plays a crucial role. Here, the custom is for the groom to go before the father of the woman he is in love with to ask for her hand in marriage. He is often accompanied by his family or parents to make a formal proposal to the bride's family and ask for her hand in marriage. If the bride's family accepts, the bride and groom then become official engaged couples, and marriage preparations begin. During this time, all of the necessary items are purchased, as well as the arrangements for the ceremony.
This tradition is unique to Catholic Christians who perform their marriages in the church. Here, 13 gold coins are blessed by the priest officiating the ceremony and presented to the groom. After the groom receives them, he gives them to the bride to symbolize him trusting her with all his material goods and possessions. Sometimes, the wife may also reciprocate the gesture and give him the rings too. This gesture will show that they both love and trust each other with their personal belongings.
This is known as the La Hora Loca. Venezuela is largely regarded as one of the countries where this tradition originated. This custom is referred to as the "party within the party." The tradition starts during the marriage celebrations, when the party begins to die down. The music suddenly becomes louder and more upbeat, and both couples and guests begin dancing and having a good time as if the party had just begun.
Wedding receptions in Venezuela are lavish ceremonies where the spouses are celebrated by their family, friends, and other guests. During this tradition, different traditional foods and drinks are served, and the couples often engage in different activities, which include dancing and the acceptance of gifts. Guests and friends present gifts to the couple and say prayers to wish them a happy married life. Most times, wedding receptions last from noon until later in the night, and there is a tradition where the newlyweds may try to sneak out during the ceremony. However, it is the duty of the guests to ensure their eyes are set on the couple at all times to prevent them from sneaking away easily during the early hours of the celebration.
Marriage between two people of the same sex is illegal in Venezuela. Same-sex sexual activities are legal for both men and women; however, they are not allowed to get married. Families cannot be headed by same-sex couples, and all other forms of relationship, such as de facto unions, cohabitation, and registered partnerships, are prohibited in the country. There are some rights that are available to same-sex individuals but not to those in unions with each other. A single parent can adopt a child, but joint parents have no right to adopt children, and if they do so, they may face legal consequences.
Polygamy in Venezuela
Under the civil laws of Venezuela, polygamous marriages are prohibited and deemed illegal in the country; however, there are still a few people who practice this type of marriage in the country. A man is not allowed to marry more than one woman, and likewise the woman. The country is majorly dominated by Christians, so most people do not even bother to try to practice polygamy since it is not allowed under their religious beliefs.
Invalid marriages in Venezuela
There are certain conditions under which a marriage in Venezuela may be rendered null or invalid. These are stated below.
- A marriage is considered invalid if either or both partners are under the prohibited degrees of marriage. A foreign spouse who is prohibited from getting married in his or her own country should not get married in Venezuela.
- If a spouse engages in polygamy, the marriage is rendered invalid, as polygamous marriages are prohibited under the marriage act in the country.
- Either of the partners must have reached 18 years of age, the minimum age for marriage. If parental consent is provided, the marriage can be held by a 16- or 17-year-old. However, if someone younger than the stated ages gets married in Venezuela, the marriage is considered invalid.
- If a spouse enters a marriage while they are still in a relationship or marriage with another partner, the marriage is null and void under the laws of the country.
Marriages between same-sex couples are invalid in Venezuela.
Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties
Laws and Rights
The minimum age for marriage in Venezuela is 18 years. Marriages between spouses under this age are prohibited except under special circumstances where parental consent is provided. Two people who are related by a direct link, a degree of consanguinity, or affinity are not allowed to marry each other. This applies to siblings, close relatives, and adopted siblings or parents. Civil marriages must be performed by a state-authorized registrar. Any marriage conducted by a person other than an authorized government official is deemed invalid. Both spouses must provide a certificate of legal capacity to marry. The paperwork must show that they are within their legal rights and eligible to conduct a marriage in the country. Foreign spouses must be permitted to marry in their home country before they proceed to conduct a marriage in Venezuela. Same-sex marriage and de facto unions are illegal in the country. These types of relationships are not recognized under the law, and couples who practice them may face legal consequences.
Both spouses have the right to demand a divorce under the Venezuelan civil code. If two partners divorce, they will continue to share parental authority over their children as parents. If two partners have children under the age of 7, the woman will become the automatic legal guardian of the child, with visitation rights for the father. In Venezuela, there are no laws, traditions, or religions that prevent women from filing for divorce or becoming the legal guardians of their children. A woman as well as her daughter have the right to inherit assets in the event that her husband dies. This includes both land and non-land assets. Both partners have the right to secure properties and be entitled to them.
The cost of marriage in Venezuela typically ranges between $3000 and $9000. This cost includes the bride price, which is paid by the groom and his family. The wedding often costs about $4000. It can be more or less, depending on the bride's family. Civil marriages generally cost less than $500, which only includes the required fees during the marriage registration process. Also, foreign spouses may end up spending some money when they request documents from authorities in their home country or consulate. Traditional marriages generally include expenses such as the bride's price, rings, transportation, catering, decoration, and photography.
The husband and wife have equal responsibilities and obligations to one another. The husband can be the primary provider in the family, providing necessities such as a place to live for his wife and family as a whole. The wife is expected to work with the husband to show her support and make decisions together on matters affecting both partners and the household. Both spouses must be faithful, love, and respect each other. The parental duties for the children are to be shared equally between the father and the mother. They owe each other the responsibility of sharing the household roles between each other to make sure they are living in peace and harmony and caring for their children accordingly.
In Venezuela, most marriages are performed at a civil registry or a church. The country is dominated by Christians, and the percentage of Muslims, Hindus, and other religions in the country is very low. Venezuela has a rich and diverse culture, which is a result of the combination of the rites and traditions of various other cultures in South America and some other countries in the world. Couples can quickly get married in Venezuela once all the required marriage documents are provided.
Unlike in some countries where civil or religious marriages can be performed and are not required to be conducted by the couples, the situation in Venezuela may be different. Couples can choose to have only a civil ceremony; however, the custom in the whole country is for both civil and religious ceremonies to be held for couples to be officially married. Both types of marriages may include wedding receptions; however, the reception that follows a church wedding is usually the biggest one with hundreds of guests. We hope this article has helped you understand everything you need to know about marriage in Venezuela.
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