Moais Isla de Pascua, Chile
Moais Isla de Pascua, Chile

How to get married or divorced

MARRIAGES

Our Consuls are not authorized to act as Civil Registry Officers to solemnize marriages, since it is not within their responsibilities.

Consequently, if the solemnization of the marriage did not take place in Chile, this must be registered at the Consulate of Chile in order to be legal in our country.

For the registration of a marriage celebrated overseas, both spouses must appear at the respective Consulate of Chile, with their valid identity documents and the Marriage Certificate duly legalized by the authority in the place where it was celebrated.

In this act, spouses must choose the matrimonial regime, that is, between separate or shared property ownership. If not stated, it is understood that the separate property ownership was chosen. If one of the bridegrooms has already died, a duly legalized Death Certificate must be submitted for the registration of the marriage.

The documentation is sent by our Consular Representation to the Civil Registry Department of this State Secretariat which, in turn, sends it to the Civil Registry and Identification Service for its registration, as the competent organism on this matter. The cost of this procedure depends on each Consular Representation and the process lasts approximately six months.

The marriage may be solemnized by an agent specially authorized, that is to say, with a special power to celebrate this act.

DIVORCE IN THE CASE OF CHILEAN CITIZENS

Divorce is contemplated in the Legal Code of our country since the enactment of the Law Nº 19.947, from May 17, 2004, and came into force on October 17, 2004.

Since then, the following marital statuses exist: married, separated, divorced and widow(er).

Only the marital statuses of widow(er) and divorced allows the celebration of a new marriage.

Request for divorce in Chile

If you are located in Chile the divorce must be requested before the Family Court and may be on ground of common consent or not. In both cases, it requires the assistance of a lawyer licensed to practice law.

On grounds of common consent: ceasing of coexistence for more than a year, an agreement by public deed regulating mutual relations and regarding the children.

If there is no agreement between the parties, the absence of coexistence must be accredited within a period of three years. A contradictory trial must be held (due to the absence of common agreement), establishing economic compensations; the resolution may be subject to mediation.

Divorce overseas

Chilean nationals residing overseas and wishing to get a divorce must comply with the local regulations of the country of residence.

In order to make divorce sentences passed by foreign courts valid in Chile these must be granted an Exequatur (standardization of foreign sentences), which is contemplated in the Articles 242 to 251 of the Civil Procedure Code of Chile.

Divorce sentences passed by foreign courts will have the same effect in Chile as if they had been passed by Chilean courts, pursuant to the aforementioned requirements established by law.

Procedure for a divorce sentence in Chile passed overseas

The exequatur request, with its founding documents, must be submitted by a lawyer qualified by the practice of his/her profession before the Supreme Court Secretariat. Its study shall be incumbent upon a Courtroom of the highest court.

The first resolution dictated by the court is to notify the party against whom the petition has been filed. This is done by means of a letter rogatory, document issued by the Supreme Court indicating the notification to the person before the relevant authority where located overseas.

Once the petition is answered or not (in default), the file passes in view of the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court so this expresses an opinion and considering this, the Courtroom shall be able to declare if it  complies or not with the  foreign  sentence.

If the Courtroom of the Supreme Court orders to enforce the resolution pronounced in a foreign country, that is, it resorts to the procedure of exequatur, its execution shall be requested to the relevant Family Court which would have corresponded to know the lawsuit in first or only instance if the trial had been instituted in Chile.

Finally, it is noteworthy that the described proceeding does not necessarily imply that the Supreme Court shall receive all the petitions submitted since the exercise of jurisdiction is involved; the court is independent to determine if it receives or not a petition. In the case in point, when regarding divorce sentences passed prior to the date of enforcement of the new Law, these are not granted retrospective effect to the new Civil Marriage Law and the petition is not received.