Civil Law

Some Points of Civil Law

Did you know?

1) That our Church Marriages are also Civil or Court marriages in so far as the couple also signs the Civil Register in the Church. The marriage is performed under section 5(1) and registered under section 30 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872.

2) There is therefore no need to have a separate “Court Marriage” for legal purposes.

3) That after the Church Wedding, (next day to years later) the couple can take the Church Marriage Certificate and go together and get their marriage Re-registered under section 15 of the Special Marriage Act of 1954. From the date of this Re-registration, their marriage will be converted into a marriage under the Special Marriage Act . The process of Re-registration involves giving one month's notice, taking the Church Marriage Certificate, witnesses etc. (as though you are getting married under the Special Marriage Act) and going through a ceremony before the Registrar. This is a one-way process from another Marriage Act to the Special Marriage Act. The reverse cannot be done.

4) The so called "Court" Marriages that some couples enter into under the Special Marriage Act before the Church Marriages have led to some problems, when after the civil marriage one party either vanishes or refuses to go through the Church Marriage and holds the other party to ransom, as this other party is bound by a civilly legal marriage that is not recognised by the Church..

5) A marriage under any other Marriage Act, can be Re-registered under the Special Marriage Act of 1954. – But this does not affect or reverse the Legal Conversion of any of the parties.

6) Some Western Embassies NOW do not accept “Civil Marriage Certificates” only for visas or migration, owing to their own liberal divorce laws, some have used the civil marriage certificate as a means to migrate. They now insist on seeing the Church Marriage Certificate, photographs, video etc. of the wedding to make sure that there has been a genuine wedding between the parties concerned.

7) There has been a problem with foreign countries/embassies (wrongly) not accepting our Church Marriage Certificate as a civilly legal marriage having legal value. All foreign countries need all foreign documents (including Marriage Certificates) to be notarised. For most Western countries notarising Marriage Certificates is generally enough. However for most Gulf Countries and a few others, attesting of Marriage certificates by a government official is necessary. The process to get this done is as follows:

Procedure for getting a document or a Marriage Certificate notarised.

a) Get a fresh copy of the Church Marriage Certificate.

b) Get it notarised locally (through any lawyers). There are many notaries all over Mumbai.

To get the Marriage Certificate attested, get it notarised as above,

c) Get the Church certificate stamped by Archbishop's House. Then send/take it to Mantralaya, 9th floor, and get it attested there. Once it is attested by the govt. all civil authorities have to accept it. The office for attesting documents is generally open from 2 to 4 p.m. all working days only.

8) Re. getting a civil divorce under the Indian Divorce Act of 1869 (amended in 2001 - and now known as "The Divorce Act" - all Church Marriages come under this act) All divorce and nullity petitions and other ancillary matters that may arise out of a Church Marriage are governed under this Act and have now to be filed in the Family Court.

Catholics can now go in for a Civil Divorce by mutual consent. They have to be physically separated for 2 years before they can apply to the Family Court for a civil divorce. After applying, there is a hearing in which the couple are referred to the court-counsellors. They are then given 6 months to make up their minds again. After this cooling off period of 6 to 18 months, they must re-appear before the Court (the counsellor) and restate their desire for a divorce. The case is then heard and the divorce is finally given. If the second appearance is not made, within 18 months of filing the petition, then the case lapses, as it is presumed the couple have made up, and are reunited. This is the Civil Law, as far as Mutual Consent is concerned..

9) In India , we have different marriage laws for different segments (e.g. Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Marriage Act, Parsi Marriage Act, Christian Marriage Act etc.) with different grounds for divorce etc. For a civil divorce you come under the provisions of the particular law that you are married under.

10) Inter-faith Marriage Affidavit (See Attached PDF / Doc Below) :