From April 30, the marriage can be processed without going through the Civil Registry

The Civil Code, that 800-page book that weighs no less than half a kilo in its most popular edition, has six articles that regulate marriage or, rather, that stipulate what the rights and duties of the spouses are, and that they do not seem anything but obvious when they are read on the wedding day. However, a detailed observation of the set of relationships in our societies suggests that these pillars falter as the years of marriage progress: equality between the spouses, mutual respect and help, coexistence, fidelity, the equal distribution of domestic responsibilities and care… as the article progresses, things get complicated. That is why the Jaen notary Pedro José Maldonado wrote on his blog that marriage "It is not a subject suitable for all audiences"You had to pay attention, said the notary, that this wedding is a legal act and not just a declaration of love.

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Someone might wonder who has given a notary candle at this wedding. The answer is Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, who in his time as Minister of Justice decided to assign notaries the competence to officiate marriages since 2015. Gallardón's intention was to help unclog the judges' desks in the Civil Registries. The press then spoke of "privatization" and "Americanization" of marriage. As of next April 30, the 2,800 notaries that are distributed throughout Spain will not only be able to marry, as they have been doing these six years, but will also save couples the process of filing the file in the Civil Registry.

In reality, the Voluntary Jurisdiction Law had prepared the way for everything to be done in the notary: from the management of the file to the wedding, but until the parliamentary processing of the modification of the Civil Registry Law had not been completed. , the notaries have not been able to make use of these powers. There is an image, every day more outdated, of the notary's office. The notary is still permeated in the imagination as Mingote drew him: an older man, dour and dry, dressed in black from Malaga. "For us it means assuming a competence that will allow us to get very close to citizens in an act and a very important moment for them, both legally and personally," explains Teresa Barea, spokesperson for the General Council of Notaries.

"The greatest workload in the Registries is not weddings but precisely the processing of files, so it is from now on when we will really see the effect of the unblocking", indicates María Jesús del Barco, spokesperson for the Professional Association of the Magistracy and Dean Judge of Madrid. Waiting times range from three weeks to six months, depending on how large the population you are enrolling in. Saving time would be the main advantage, as well as being able to get a date that suits specific needs; "But of course, that must be paid for," recalls Magistrate Del Barco.

The secondary advantage, although no less interesting, is that of individualized counseling: "the contracting parties can ask us their doubts about other related matters such as the matrimonial property regime and succession. If this is reflected in some capitulations, they turn out to be measures prevention so that the legal relationships of the spouses are well established and tomorrow there will be no problems, "explains Teresa Barea. If precisely one of the functions of the notary, in addition to controlling legality, is to avoid litigation, with these remedies they are avoiding greater evils.

How do you do it?

The contracting parties cannot choose which notary is going to carry out their file, but must go to the Notary Association of the place where at least one of them is registered and request that one be assigned to him. With that name in hand, the member of the couple who has had to carry out the procedures requests an appointment and the notary tells him what documentation he has to provide. In reality, one is not completely free of the Civil Registry, since it will be necessary to consult them to obtain the birth certificates and the marriage certificates with the entry on the margin as divorced in the event that one of them has been previously married. You will also have to go through the Town Hall to get the registration certificate. And find two witnesses who are available on the wedding day.

The file is agile to carry out when the contracting parties are Spanish. When there are foreigners involved, time and cost are complicated. In addition, the notary's office must verify that the future spouses have no impediments to marry, such as being minors (except emancipated ones), being married to other people or that behind their intentions there is no interest in a simulated marriage.

After individualized interviews with the couple and their witnesses, when the notary understands that there are truly no obstacles to giving legal freedom to love, he will issue a decision according to which it is attested that the couples meet the requirements. Now comes the real wedding: this can be officiated by the same notary, a different one chosen by the contracting parties, a mayor or a councilor.

Since the entry into force of the Voluntary Jurisdiction Law in July 2015, Spanish notaries have married 41,474 couples. The figures are increasing: from 5,593 in 2016 to 10,782 in 2020. And isn't it cold to get married in a notary's office? "Weddings are not cold," says the notary Teresa Barea, "we accommodate the office a little, sometimes someone else can come. The penultimate one I had in my office was very emotional because the bride and groom came with their parents and a brother. From each party, they exchanged vows, a relative read a few words, they came dressed for the occasion ... An office does not give you the grandeur of a beautiful place but in return it offers you closeness and warmth. "

And, for those who want pageantry, they can always resort to other places, to which a notary can travel (which increases costs) or ask for municipal offices with historical charm (which will lengthen the waiting time).

How much?

The price is variable, but could be around two hundred euros. On the one hand, there is the file, which has a starting fee of 30.05 euros, a price that will increase depending on the amount of tests that have to be carried out. On the other hand, the marriage celebration deed must be carried out, which will be between 120 and 150 euros, including three simple copies (one for each spouse and one for the Registry).

The wedding in the office is cheaper, but if the notary has to go somewhere, the minute will go up.


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