By Solomon Freimuth and Gustavo Calderón
THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Second thing to know is that even when Mexico is a very Catholic Country, it has made a great effort to maintain a separation between religion and government since the 19th Century. For this reason, Religious Weddings are not officially recognized, the only way to get officially married is by doing it before an Official/Judge of the Civil Registry, whereas inside the Registry Office or, with an extra fee, in a different place (the Beach, a Hotel, an Hacienda, etc.). Most of Mexican Catholics usually get married 2 times the same day, first in a little ceremony with their most close friends and family before the Civil registry’s Official/Judge, a few moments later they do it in a church before a Priest as regulated by the Catholic Church.
Third: the Property Regime. All the Mexican States will give 2 options to choose from (i) a Common Regime, when both parties agreed to share all their assets; and (ii) a Separated Regime, when each party maintain the ownership of their own assets. In some cases there is a third option depending on the State, which is a mix of the 2 first regimes and a marital assets agreement. It is very important to be informed about the regime and it’s consequences. The couple usually will be inquired at the moment of getting married about the property regime they have chosen, however according to the regulation of some states if nothing is mentioned, it can be understood as a Common Regime, while in other States will be understood as a Separated Regime.
PROCESS, TIMETABLE AND PAPERWORK
This document then needs to be translated into Spanish by a Mexican court-authorized translator, who can be found and contacted online, then each birth certificate and it´s corresponding apostille certificate will need to be sent via courier service to the translator at least a month before the wedding, so they have plenty of time to get the paperwork done. The documents can then either be sent back to the States or picked up in Mexico City. It might provide more piece of mind to have the documents in hand when before leaving for Mexico, but having the documents sent back to the United States from Mexico is going to add at least a few weeks to the process.
The legal ceremony can take place in the Civil Registry office or in an offsite location, the cost to perform the wedding outside of the office is marginally more. It is best to schedule the judge´s time well in advance, they are often booked at least a month ahead of time.
Before leaving for Mexico it is necessary to finish gathering the paperwork required for the wedding: proof of address (an electric bill), passports and a few forms that need to be filled out for the marriage certificate. The paperwork is all in Spanish and the answers need to be in Spanish; Mexico is very picky about official documents, so it is best to get help if the language is a problem.
The next step will be to get on the plane. It is a good idea to plan to be in Mexico at least two weeks before the actual marriage, paperwork needs to be presented in the civil registry at least a week before the actual date. Some States in Mexico require that, in addition to all the paperwork mentioned already, both partners will need a current prenuptial health exam, which can be done in many public or private health facilities and tests for HIV, VD´s and blood types. The last requirements for the marriage are a copy of the visa (tourist card) received upon entrance to Mexico and if one of the spouses is of Mexican birth, permission from the Mexican Immigration Authority for a foreigner to marry a Mexican citizen. All of the paperwork must now be turned into the Civil Registry in original and copy.
After presenting the paperwork, the registry will provide a payment form, which in the case of Mexico City, it can be taken to any bank for payment of the corresponding fees; afterwards the receipt of payment will need to be returned to the Registry. The lapse of time between presentation of the paperwork and the actual ceremony is a great opportunity to do any last minute planning or, everything is already buttoned up, a great chance to explore a little bit of Central Mexico or any part of Mexico where you are located.
The wedding ceremony will be simple, the ceremony itself takes less than half an hour, in some cases the Civil Registry will have an in-house photographer that will take pictures for their records and for the local papers, though it is a good idea to consider hiring a professional photographer to take pictures as well.
Before returning to home the marriage certificate must be apostilled by the Secretary of Government in Mexico City in order for it to be a legal document in the United States or any other Country that is part of La Hague Convention on apostille, other than that you will need to go trough the legalization process.
SAME SEX MARRIAGES
This change, a monumental decision for a notoriously catholic country, paved the way to making families equal, without importance on the gender of its components. Now, all families can take advantage of health care and other benefits formerly reserved for traditional one-man/one-woman families. This change in the laws also makes Mexico a convenient and fun option for making that commitment which may not be possible at home.
About the Authors: Solomon Freimuth is an American Citizen resident and married in Mexico, he is currently pursuing a Law Degree. Gustavo Calderón is a Mexican Attorney expert in Real Estate Law, Immigration Law and Agrarian Law, he is also professor of Family Law. Both authors are part of the firm Calderón & Asociados in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. For more information about this firm visit www.chflawyers.com or contact us by e mail to email@example.com The copy, distribution or publication of this article is permitted as long as the work is attributed to their authors exactly as mentioned in this paragraph.
Thinking of getting married in Mexico? Yes it is possible, however there are many things to know before taking any decision which will help you to make the marriage process a completely out-of-the-box experience.