If you’re thinking about getting married in Colombia, this information will surely come in handy as it is very important to know all the types of marriages in Colombia.

It is necessary to insist that men and women can get solemn marriages as regulated by the Civil Code in their Arts. 113 and following or consensual marriage, misnamed  “unión marital de hecho” and worse if you insist on calling it a “free union” (unión libre).


Types of marriages

Civil marriage

The first type of marriage can be celebrated after having everything necessary to fulfill the obligations that the home imposes, before a religious, a notary or a municipal civil judge.

The religious can be a priest of the Catholic Church or a Priest of the Christian Church who have entered into pacts of private internal law with the State. The notary will be the one of the neighborhood of the parties. The judge, the neighbor of the parties. It must be civil and municipal.

Consensual marriage

The second form of marriage, which is called consensual, does not require any solemnity. Man and woman who have everything necessary to fulfill the obligations imposed by the home, agree to live together and will do so as husband and wife.

This form of marriage doesn’t have all the protection of marriage ceremony and in Colombia does not have legislation that prints all the seriousness and commitment that society requires a marriage.

Similarities between these marriages

Both marriages require documentary evidence to prove their existence and generate personal obligations between the couple and as parents with their children and most of the time generate relationships of patrimonial society, whose regime of existence, administration and dissolution is regulated in the Code Civil and Law 54 of 1990 and those that reform it together with the abundant jurisprudence that the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Council of State have dictated on the subject.


Differences of these marriages

The main difference between the two is that the civil marriage is harder to disolve because it requires a divorce, while the consensual marriage disolves when the couple stops living together as a couple.

In both you’re supposed to split the assets in accordance with the law (unless you have a prenup stating otherwise).
The consensual marriage requires 2 years of common life to be presumed, although you can go to a notary public and get a public deed declaring it before that period.

Often couples will get the civil marriage to obtain the benefits of the civil state (such as obtaining spousal visa and sharing health insurance). When they’re still not certain that the relationship will last forever, because they’re still getting to know each other or cause they’re saving up for a big wedding they’ll take the consensual marriage.