Checks, refusal to perform the marriage or record the declaration of legal cohabitation, and appeals
When declaring a legal cohabitation or marriage i.e. prior to registration (of the legal cohabitation or marriage), the registrar may check whether it is a cohabitation or marriage of convenience i.e. its only aim is to obtain the right to stay in the country.
Future legal cohabitants/spouses may be interviewed separately at the municipal offices about how they met, their way of life, etc. Similarly, the agent de quartier (neighbourhood officer) may also ask questions to ensure that it is not a bogus union.
Registering the declaration of legal cohabitation or marriage may be postponed by up to two months after submitting the documents with the registrar, and up to five 5 months maximum if the Parquet (public prosecutor) is consulted.
Additional residency checks may be conducted by the police at the home of the couple; partners and future spouses are usually summoned for interview lasting several hours by the federal police.
If the conditions are not met or if there is any doubt as to the legitimacy of the proposed union, the registrar may refuse to record the legal cohabitation or marriage.
An appeal may be filed with the court of first instance. If no final decision has been taken in five months, the registrar must perform the marriage or register the declaration of legal cohabitation.
Annulling a legal cohabitation or marriage
A bogus legal cohabitation or marriage of convenience can be annulled by the court of first instance/family section; criminal proceedings may be instigated.
If at the end of the proceedings, the legal cohabitation or marriage is annulled it is deemed never to have existed.
The foreign spouse who has obtained the right to stay in the country on this basis may be ordered to leave the territory within 30 days and will have his/her residence permit permanently withdrawn. We specialise in helping future spouses at each stage of the marriage or legal cohabitation procedure i.e. compiling the application and applying for residency after the marriage ceremony or declaration of legal cohabitation. We can also represent should you need to file an appeal before the Family Court following a refusal to perform the marriage or declare the legal cohabitation, or should you need to annul an existing marriage or legal cohabitation.