Marriages in Colombia

We simplify the marriage process for our foreign clients.

From seemingly unnecessary regulatory requirements to the need to secure personal documents from abroad, getting married in Colombia can often seem complex and bureaucratic.

Our Family Law Group simplifies the marriage process for our foreign clients so that all they have to worry about is showing up on the day of their wedding. We provide comprehensive assistance throughout the marriage process including:

Documentation Requirements:

Analyzing what documents will be required to effectuate marriage.

Prenuptial Agreements (“Capitulaciones Matrimoniales o Patrimoniales”):

We highly recommend that clients executed a formal prenuptial agreement prior to entering into any marital relationship.

Asset Inventory (“Inventario Solemne de Bienes del Menor”):

These are required when one party has minor children.

Notary Weddings:

Many weddings can take place at a local notary before a notary and/or administrative law judge.

Arbitration Center Weddings:

Other weddings are certified by arbitration centers, chambers of commerce and other public/private entities pursuant to Colombian law.

Proxy Weddings:

When clients are not able to travel to Colombia for a wedding we can arrange a proxy wedding pursuant to Colombian law.

Marriages in Colombia: The Basics

Different Types of Marital Relationships

You can enter into the following types of marital relationships under Colombian law:

  • Religious Marriage. This is the traditional marriage format where you have a religious ceremony. The most common religious marriage in Colombia is overseen by the Catholic church. A religious marriage is dissolved via a formal divorce process.
  • Civil Marriage: Couples who enter into a civil marriage do so via a local notary or judge. A civil marriage is dissolved via a formal divorce process.
  • Common Law Marriage: The so-called “Unión Libre” or “Unión Marital de Hecho” is Colombia’s version of a common law marriage. Any couple living together can certify before a local notary that they have entered into a marital relationship at any time. Note that, under Colombia law, there is a presumption that marital property has been created if a couple has lived together in excess of 2 years. A common law marriage can be dissolved if any partner moves out at any time. In addition, anyone in a common law marriage that has been maintained during a period of at least 2 years can request financial support from their spouse.

Documentation Required

Foreigners who want to enter into a Religious Marriage or a Civil Marriage in Colombia will need to secure certain legal documentation from their home countries including a certified birth certificate, copies of previous divorce decrees, a certificate of being single, certified affidavits and other documents. The documentation requirements for Common Law Marriages are more flexible.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are formal legal documents that are signed before a local notary that outline how the couple intends to manage the distributions of assets and other issues in the event the marital relationship ends. There are two primary versions of prenuptial agreements under Colombian law:

  • Basic: This version prohibits the creation of marital property. It is, essentially, a “what’s yours is yours, what’s mine is mine prior to marriage, during marriage and after a divorce” agreement. It is recommended for clients who are risk-averse as it grants clients the most protection under Colombian law.
  • Complex: This version outlines, in detail, what happens to marital property following the end of the marital relationship. This is an ideal option for couples who are comfortable establishing marital property and have a good idea how to divide their assets.