You plan to get married or you've gotten engaged and it's time to plan the big day. However, you may be unsure about the legal requirements of getting married in Trinidad and Tobago. Have no fear - here's what you need to know about the legal process of saying "I DO" in T&T.
1. You must be at least 18 years of age to marry in Trinidad and Tobago.
2. There are four (4) kinds of marriages recognized In Trinidad and Tobago:
All Christian marriages performed in a church are civil marriages, provided the presiding minister is a licensed Marriage Officer. Marriage Officers are ordained ministers of a recognized religious denomination or organization.
Hindu, Muslim and Orisa Marriages can only be performed by licensed Marriage Officers.
3. To get married in Trinidad and Tobago under a Civil Marriage the following steps can be taken:
Steps for T&T Residents:
Couples who intend to marry must give notice of the intended marriage. This is often referred to as the publication of marriage banns or “posting banns.”
To “post banns” both the bride and groom to be need to give notice of the intended marriage to the District Warden in the District in which they live. A listing of District Revenue offices in Trinidad and Tobago can be found HERE.
If the bride and groom to be reside in different districts each of them must give notice to the District Warden in their respective district.
If the bride and groom to be reside in the same district, a single notice can be given by them to the District Warden in their area.
Both parties should apply the same day or at least during the same week.
The cost is $10.00TT and the banns will be posted for 7 days.
On the eighth day, if to the satisfaction of the District Warden, there is no lawful impediment to the marriage and no caveat has been entered against the issue of a licence, you will be given a marriage licence (which is called a Registrar’s Certificate). You will be required to pay $10.00TT for the licence. With this in hand, you can now get married. The licence is usually valid for 6 months; meaning that you must marry within this period of time.
Residents of Trinidad and Tobago also have the option of dispensing with the requirement of posting banns to marry. If the wife and husband to be don't want to give notice to a District Registrar or a Marriage Officer, they can make an application for a Minister’s Licence which waives the requirement for both persons getting married to post marriage banns.
Requirements for Minister’s Licence:
Steps for Non-Residents (where both parties to the intended marriage are non-residents)
Non-resident couples can get married in as little as three (3) days with a Special Marriage License. A Special Marriage Licence waives the requirement for both parties to post marriage banns.
To apply for a special marriage licence both parties must be non-residents of Trinidad and Tobago (i.e. not normally residing in Trinidad and Tobago; and for citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, they must not normally reside in Trinidad and Tobago for at least 3 years).
Each party must be present in Trinidad and Tobago for not less than three days prior to the time of the marriage. The requisite three-day period runs from the day after the date of arrival of the respective parties.
Before a marriage can be solemnised both parties must appear personally before the Registrar of Marriages or a District Registrar not less than 24 hours before the intended time of the marriage and shall each make an affidavit or statutory declaration that by the law of the respective domicile of each of the parties:
With this Special Marriage Licence in hand, the couple can now get married.
Steps for Non-Residents (where just one party to the intended marriage is a non-resident)
In the case of a person living abroad, who intends to marry a resident/national residing in Trinidad and Tobago, the party who is non-resident can obtain a Minister's Authority that waives the requirement for the person living abroad, to post his/her marriage banns and will give the couple licence to marry.
4. When the licence is obtained, it's time to get married!
On the day of the wedding, the newlyweds along with their witnesses sign copies of the Marriage Certificate. The officiating Marriage Officer (the Pundit, Priest, Reverend, Imam, Pastor etc) or the District Registrar will submit one of these copies to the Civil Registry at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs.
In about two weeks after the wedding, you can obtain the electronic version of the Marriage Certificate from the Civil Registry in the Registrar General's Department at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs.
The cost of the Marriage Certificate is $25.00TT
Important Notice: This post does not constitute or provide legal advice. Always consult with a suitably qualified attorney-at-law on any legal problem or issue.
Law For All is managed by the AURORA Chambers Legal Practice.
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