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Marriage in Luxembourg

Getting married in Luxembourg requires a number of administrative steps. Which matrimonial regime to choose? Can one change one’s name? What is the change in taxation? Do we have to have a previous marriage abroad recognized?

More information here.

Civil marriage in Luxembourg

A number of steps must be taken in order to be able to marry in Luxembourg.

Conditions to get married in Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, marriage is permitted between two persons of different or the same sex. Both future spouses must be at least 18 years old. A minor may marry provided he or she has the authorisation of the guardianship judge. At least one of them must have his official residence in Luxembourg.

Focus on homosexual marriage

In Luxembourg, same-sex marriage has been authorised since the law of 4 July 2014. The latter aims to create equality between homosexual and heterosexual couples. The rights and duties are therefore now similar for all couples.

Steps to get married in Luxembourg

Deadline

The preparation of the marriage must take place, at the latest, two months before the date of the marriage for residents of Luxembourg nationality, three months for non-Luxembourgers.

Place

The marriage must be celebrated in the commune of one of the future spouses, provided that he or she resides there legally.

Constitution of the file

The file must be drawn up in advance. One of the future spouses must therefore go to the commune of his or her place of residence in order to complete the various formalities.

Many documents are required for a civil marriage in Luxembourg. In particular, the future spouses must present a valid identity document, a recent birth certificate, a certificate of matrimonial capacity, the national identification numbers of the future spouses or a residence certificate.

The file must be submitted in person, by appointment.

  • German nationals

Luxembourg civil registrars must apply for a certificate of marital capacity called “Ehefähigkeitszeugnis”. This is issued by the commune of birth of the national, by the commune of last domicile in Germany, or by the Standesamt I Berlin if the groom has never lived in Germany.

  • Italian nationals

Wedding publications are done at the Italian Consulate if the nationals were born and have been domiciled in Luxembourg since their birth. On the other hand, if the future spouses were born in Italy, the marriage publication is done in Italy.

  • Portuguese nationals

Portuguese nationals must travel together to the Consulate General of Portugal in Luxembourg. Several documents must be presented for the constitution of the file, such as an identity document, a birth certificate and a residence certificate.

Once the file has been processed, the Consulate’s services deliver the certificate of matrimonial capacity – to which the various documents are attached – directly to the municipal administration of the city where the marriage will take place.

Marriage witnesses

The Luxembourg Civil Code does not provide for the signature of marriage witnesses.

Celebration of marriage

The celebration of the marriage takes place after the formalities have been completed. It is therefore preferable to do so at least two to three months before the date of celebration chosen.

The date and time of the marriage are fixed when the complete file is submitted. Weddings can be celebrated every working day of the week and are obligatorily celebrated inside the communal house. However, a trip to the home may be required in case of serious impediment.

Please note that all marriages are preceded by a publication in the commune of residence of both spouses. This is posted for 10 days. Once it has been published, the marriage must be celebrated within 12 months. Otherwise, a new publication will be necessary.

Marriage leave

Extraordinary leave of three days shall be granted to each spouse, provided he or she is bound by an employment contract.

Matrimonial property regimes in Luxembourg

Married couples are subject to a matrimonial regime. This set of rules governs the pecuniary interests of the spouses. In the absence of a marriage contract, the matrimonial regime of legal community applies. However, the spouses are free to adopt another form of marriage contract.

The legal matrimonial regime

If the spouses decide not to sign a particular marriage contract, they are automatically subject to the legal regime. The latter is based on the principle of a community reduced to acquests.

With this matrimonial regime, the property of the spouses falls under community. In other words, this means that these assets belong to both spouses: the proceeds of their work, the income from their property, the assets acquired during the marriage.

However, some property remains the property of one of the spouses, provided that the person is able to prove ownership. This includes property acquired before the celebration of the marriage, property of a personal nature or property acquired by gift or inheritance.

Furthermore, if one of the spouses has debts prior to the marriage, these remain personal to him or her. However, creditors may sue the indebted person for these debts on his or her personal property, as well as on property that has entered into the community. Debts contracted by one of the spouses for the maintenance of the household or the education of the children may be sued out of all common property.

It should be noted, however, that when a debt entered into community by one spouse alone, it cannot be pursued against the other spouse’s own property.

The regime of universal community

Spouses who wish to do so may choose the universal community regime. All the couple’s property – acquired before the marriage, but also afterwards – thus belongs to the community. There are therefore no assets of their own, except for personal clothing and family heirlooms.

All debts are also common. The spouses are therefore jointly and severally liable, even for debts contracted by one of them before marriage.

Separation of property

By signing a regime of separation of property, the spouses retain the administration, enjoyment and free disposal of their personal property. There is therefore no common property between the spouses.

In the same way, each spouse must assume his or her debts, whether they arose before or during the marriage. One exception, however, is that if the debts were incurred for the education of the children or the maintenance of the household, both spouses are liable for them.

In the event of death, community of property may be awarded to the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse will then inherit the entire fortune of the couple. However, this possibility is subject to special conditions if there are children from a first marriage.

Change of marriage contract

After at least two years of marriage, the spouses are free to make changes, by notarial act, to their existing matrimonial regime.

Liquidation of the community

The marriage may be dissolved in the event of divorce or death of one of the spouses.

The liquidation of the community is carried out in accordance with the respective rights of the spouses. However, with regard to the separation of property, no property is common. There is therefore nothing to be liquidated.

Married spouses’ surnames

In Luxembourg, the law does not provide for family name mergers. Only the name that appears in the civil status register is recognised. A married woman may, however, borrow her husband’s surname for use and add her maiden name to it.

Note that the law of 18 March 1982 allows her surname to be changed. A reasoned written request must then be addressed to the Ministry of Justice.

Religious marriage

Religious marriage alone is strictly forbidden. A civil marriage with the municipal administration must imperatively have taken place beforehand.

For the organization of a religious marriage, the future spouses are invited to inquire directly with the persons in charge in their place of worship.

Taxation of married spouses

Married taxpayers benefit from tax class 2. Spouses are thus taxed collectively and benefit from tax deductions.

Find out more about taxation

Getting recognition for a marriage contracted abroad

Why having your marriage recognized in Luxembourg

A couple married abroad can, if they wish, have their marriage recognised in Luxembourg. In principle, any marriage validly concluded under the law of the State of celebration may thus be recognized.

The recognition of a marriage offers many advantages to spouses who decide to settle in Luxembourg, whether for tax, social security or filiation reasons.

Who can apply for it?

The recognition of a marriage contracted abroad can be requested by all married couples, whether or not they are Luxembourg nationals, provided that they are both legally resident on Luxembourg territory.

Note that persons of the same sex whose marriage was celebrated before 1 January 2015 may also apply. However, several conditions must be met, such as the forms of customary practice imposed in the foreign country, Luxembourg law or international conventions.

Marriage recognition procedure

Several steps must be taken in order to have a marriage celebrated abroad recognized. The spouses must go to the Commune of their domicile. Several documents must then be presented by the bride and groom to the registrar of civil status:

  • A valid passport for foreigners or an identity card for Luxembourg nationals
  • An authenticated marriage certificate.

Once the file has been validated, the marriage can then be transcribed in the civil status registers of the spouses’ home.

Please note: The application may however be rejected if the validity of the marriage is questionable under Luxembourg law.

More information about civil partnership or PACS