Marriage is recognised by the State as a binding legal contract. Several legal preliminaries must be completed in order that the marriage is legally valid. Since 2015 same sex couple can now legally marry and enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as opposite sex couples. For legal recognition a couple must be married by civil ceremony. In addition, a couple may choose to also participate in an associated religious or secular ceremony.
Requirements for a Valid Marriage
In order to enter into a valid marriage in Ireland both parties must:
- Have the capacity to marry each other.
- Freely consent to the marriage.
- Observe the required notice requirements of 3 months to the Registrar.
For a marriage to be legal in Ireland a couple must give a minimum of three months notification in person to a Registrar of their intention to marry. More information on how to notify the Registrar about an intention to marry is available on the website for the General Register Office.
To make an appointment to give Notification of Intention to Marry to a Registrar, parties should contact their local Civil Registration Office. See Civil Registration Office to get details for local Civil Registration Service Offices.
Generally speaking, the minimum age for getting married in Ireland is 18 years of age. Also, if you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and you wish to get married abroad, you must be aged at least 18. One or both parties to a marriage who are under 18 may apply for a Court Exemption Order to allow the marriage to proceed where the Court is satisfied that there are good reasons for the application and that the marriage is in the best interests of the parties. This exemption is soon to be repealed by the Domestic Violence Bill 2017, which aims to protect minors against forced marriages.
Capacity to Marry
In addition, both parties must have the capacity to marry, which means that both parties must fulfil the following requirements:
- Be over 18 years of age or have a Court Exemption Order if this is not the case.
- Have given the Registrar three months notification of the marriage.
- Be either single, widowed, divorced, a former civil partner of a civil partnership that ended through death or dissolution, or have had a civil annulmentof a marriage or civil partnership or a valid foreign divorce or dissolution.
- Have the mental capacity to understand the nature of marriage and what it means.
- Not be related by blood or marriage to a degree that prohibits them from lawfully marrying each other.
If either party does not fulfil even one of the above requirements, any subsequent marriage ceremony is legally void.
Other useful information resources
Two very useful websites which explain the formal requirements for a valid marriage and also explain the different types of marriage ceremonies are:
A married couple can elect for joint or single assessment and the Revenue Commissioners has produced a very useful resource outlining the tax implications of being married.
Image by Irina Patrascu Gheorghita CC – BY – NC – 2.0
General Register Office
- Address: Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon.
- Tel: 0090 6632900 LoCall: 1890 252076
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/General-Register-Office.aspx
- Address: Drop in 260 locations nationwide
- Tel: 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).
- Website: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/