If you are like thousands of other Kyrgyzstani citizens, you may have married through a religious ceremony such as nikah without registering your marriage with the government (ZAGS). If so, you could be missing out on some important benefits for you and your children. This post goes over why and how to register your marriage.
Why register my marriage?
Registering your marriage with the government has many benefits for you and your children. While it may take some time and paperwork, it will make your life and your children’s lives easier in the future.
Benefits for you from registering your marriage include:
- You and your spouse will have equal right to common property from the marriage. This means you will have equal rights to use and dispose of all salaries, pensions, property, cars, cattle, land, and other items acquired by you or your spouse during your registered marriage (Family Code Art. 35(2));
- Even if you do not earn a salary – perhaps because you care for your children – by registering your marriage you make sure that you have the same right to your husband’s or wife’s salary, property, car, and other assets as he or she does (Family Code Art. 35(3));
- If your spouse sells land, a house, an apartment, or makes another major transaction, he or she must attain your consent. If you do not agree to the sale or purchase, you can go to court to have it voided … meaning that it is as if the sale or purchase never happened (Family Code Art. 36)
- If you and your spouse divorce, you will be entitled to spousal support (alimony) only if you have a registered marriage. You are not entitled to spousal support from an unregistered marriage, i.e. nikah or another religious ceremony.
- If you are pregnant or have given birth within the past year, your husband cannot divorce you without your consent (Family Code Art. 18).
Benefits for your children from registering your marriage include:
- If your marriage is registered, your husband (or wife) is automatically considered to be the father (or mother) of your newborn child (Family Code Art. 51(1)). This means that your child is automatically entitled to protection, financial and emotional support, and an upbringing from both you and your spouse (Family Code Art. 59, 68, 69).
- If you and your partner divorce, it will be easier for your children to get child support (alimony).
- Note: Even if you do not register your marriage – i.e. you only have nikah – your mutual children are still entitled to child support from your ex-spouse. However, you will need to prove parentage (usually paternity) in court before your ex-spouse is required to pay child support. This can be a lengthy and difficult process, and can make life difficult for you and your child.
Registering your marriage will give you and your children more financial security and will make it easier for you and your spouse to support one another during your marriage and in the event of divorce.
How do I register my marriage?
Fortunately, registering your marriage is easy. To register your marriage with the government, you and your spouse go to your local civil registry (ZAGS) together – click here for a directory of civil registries in the Kyrgyz Republic – and submit an application that includes:
- Your full name (Last, First, Patronymic);
- Your date and place of birth;
- Your age on the date of marriage registration with ZAGS;
- Your citizenship and your nationality;
- Your place of residence (address);
- Your spouse’s full name (Last, First, Patronymic);
- Your spouse’s date and place of birth;
- Your spouse’s age on the date of marriage registration with ZAGS;
- Your spouse’s citizenship and your nationality;
- Your spouse’s place of residence (address);
- The names that you and your spouse choose after entering into marriage (including, for example, any change to your last names);
- Your signature;
- Your spouse’s signature.
The ZAGS officials will provide you and your spouse with a form that asks for all of the above information. When you go to ZAGS, be sure to bring:
- A valid passport or ID card for yourself;
- A valid passport or ID card for your spouse;
- If either you or your spouse was previously married, an official document that proves the end of the previous marriage.
If any of the above documents are written in a foreign language (i.e. a language other than Kyrgyz or Russian), you will also need to submit a notarized translation of the document(s) to ZAGS. Additional documents are required for those younger than 18 years of age.
By law, your civil registry is required to register your marriage within 1 month of your application (or give a reason for declining your application within one month). Your official marriage date will be the day that the ZAGS official registers your marriage, and will be shown on your marriage certificate.
By law, it is free to register your marriage with ZAGS. A certificate proving your marriage costs 100 KGS.
For more information, please see: Civil Registry Service of the Kyrgyz Republic: Registering Your Marriage.
Note that you must meet certain requirements before you can register your marriage:
- Both you and your spouse must be 18 or older (if you or your spouse is younger than 18, you will need to meet additional requirements);
- Both you and your spouse must fully and freely consent to the marriage;
- You and your spouse will have to pass a medical exam;
- Neither you nor your spouse can be married to another person.
We wish you and your family happiness in your marriage!
Have questions? Need legal advice? Are you or your spouse in a situation not covered above? CONTACT US.