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How to obtain a life partnership?
For Croatian citizens the way of obtaining a life partnership is relatively simple.
Persons who intend to enter into a life partnership need to register their intent by applying in person to the registrar responsible for the location where they wish to obtain their life partnership. They must bring their application and their birth certificates, in addition to any other documents at the request of the registrar.
The intent to enter into a life partnership can be filed in Zagreb at the registrar’s office in Črnomerac and at any registry office in the Republic of Croatia.
The registrar shall verify whether the requirements for entering into a life partnership have been met . When the registrar establishes that the aforementioned requirements have been met, the shall confirm with the parties entering the life partnership on their choice of surname.
Then the registrar shall, at the suggestion of the couple who intend to enter into a life partnership, set a date for the ceremony of the life partnership, as a rule within a period of thirty to forty-five days from the day the application is filed (and in exceptional circumstances, when a justified reason exists, the registrar may approve a date earlier than thirty days from the day the application was filed).
Life partnership ceremonies shall be performed on official premises or in some other appropriate location, as decided by the registrar, following a proposal by the parties. It shall be concluded in the presence of the persons who intend to co-enter into the life partnership, the registrar and two witnesses. On the day and at the set time for the ceremony, the registrar shall announce that both parties are present in person to enter into a life partnership as well as the witnesses, and that there are no impediments to the to the life partnership going ahead.
The registrar shall, in an appropriate speech, acquaint the persons intending to obtain a life partnership with the provisions of the Same-sex Life Partnership Act, their rights and responsibilities, and point out the significance of entering into a life partnership.
The life partnership shall be concluded when both people express their consent to entering into a life partnership, after which the registrar shall announce, using their first names, that they have entered into a life partnership together (life partners, the witnesses and the registrar shall sign a statement registering their consent).
The registrar shall register the life partnership in the register of life partnerships and issue the life partners with an excerpt from the register of life partnerships.
During this initial registration in the register of life partnerships, the registrar will enter the following basic information:
1. data on the life partners: name and surname, gender, date and place of birth, personal identification number (OIB), citizenship, the day, month, year and place of the life partnership and the statement on the agreed surname after obtaining the life partnership.
2. the name and surname of the parents of the life partners, the name and surname of the witnesses of the ceremony, and the name and surname of the registrar
3. the name and surname of the court interpreter if the presence of a court interpreter was necessary during the proceedings. For example, when one or both partners that want to obtain a life partnership do not speak Croatian.
In case that one or both partners are foreign citizens, along with the intent to enter into a life partnership, it is necessary to enclose proof of free marital status and a birth certificate, documents which are issued by the competent authority of their country of birth. With these two certificates, the registrar will also need to see an identity document and proof of citizenship and also a proof of residence in Croatia.
Some countries, that do not recognize any form of the family union same-sex couples, can provide bureaucratic resistance in issuing the necessary documentation, especially with the certificate of free marital status. All members of the Council of Europe, 47 countries in geographical Europe, are obliged to issue a certificate of free marital status to LGBT people.
Which documents do I need to bring with me to the register office?
Just like civil marriage, life partnership can be conducted only by the registrar in Croatia, and cannot be conducted in diplomatic-consular representations. Application can be submitted in any registrar’s office in Croatia (in Zagreb they can only be submitted in the registrar office in Črnomerec).
For Croatian citizens:
- the partners should come in person, bringing copies of their identity cards, as well as copies of the identity cards of two witnesses
- the application should be filled out upon arrival (the application form will be obtained by the registrar´s office)
- it is necessary to bring revenue stamps in the amount of 70 kunas
- after applying you will get a payment slip to the amount of 140 kunas (costs of the act of concluding LP) that can be paid afterwards
- additional costs are charged if the ceremony is planned outside the official premises
- if a Croatian citizen, that is born abroad, is not registered in the Croatian Registrar of Births, it is necessary to get registered
- a birth certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of birth
- evidence of free marital status (issued by the country of birth)
- identity documents
- evidence of citizenship
- proof of residence in Croatia
- the application should be filled out upon arrival (the application form will be obtained in the registrar´s office)
- it is necessary to bring revenue stamps in the amount of 70 kunas
- in the registrar’s office, other documents could be asked for submission
- citizens from countries outside the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) should double check whether their documents have to go through document legalization
- authorized court interpreter for foreign languages is obligatory (exception could be made for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia)
Regarding the costs of concluding life partnership, prices are the same as for Croatian citizens – 70 kunas of revenue stamps and 140 kunas as a cost of act of concluding LP. The ceremony usually lasts for 15 minutes, and eventual additional costs are being charged if the ceremony is planned outside the office premises.
How can foreigners arrange life partnership in Croatia?
In case one or both partners are foreigners/non-Croatian citizens, along with registering the intent for concluding life partnership, they should provide evidence of free marital status and birth certificate issued by the competent authority of the country of birth. With these two certificates, the registrar needs to check your identity document, as well as proof of your citizenship and a proof of residence in Croatia. An authorized interpreter, translator or court interpreter for your language(s), must attend the wedding. Certain countries that do not recognize any form of same-gender communities, can have bureaucratic resistance with the issuance of necessary documentation, especially with the certificate of free marital status. All forty-seven European countries that are members of the Council of Europe are required to issue the certificate of free marital status to LGBTIQ persons.
How to terminate a life partnership?
Life partnership can be terminated in two ways:
1. by filing a lawsuit for termination of life partnership before the competent municipal court when termination requests one of the life partners
2. by a motion for a mutually agreed termination of life partnership before the competent municipal court when termination requests both life partners.
If it is a motion for a mutually agreed termination of life partnership, except through the competent court, a life partnership may be terminated by a statement of the agreement made before a registrar, under the condition that there are no minor children living in the domestic community. It is one of the main differences between marriage and life partnership, since the application for divorce is always submitted to the court.
Terminating the life partnership before the court is identical to divorce. The court shall terminate the life partnership: following a motion for a mutually agreed termination by the life partners; if it establishes that the relationship has been seriously and permanently disrupted; or if the life partners have been living apart for more than one year (if the life partners have not been in mutual emotional and other relationship described through the principles of partnership in the Article 6, paragraph 1 of the Same-sex Life Partnership Act).
For all other procedures, relating to disputes between the (former) life partners, such as alimony, child visitation, division of jointly acquired property, as well as all other disputes, the provisions of the Family Law shall apply in a separate procedure, and these disputes are not different from those relating to marital relationships and common-law marriage relationships.
What is the cost of an official ceremony of concluding life partnership?
The basic cost of the conclusion of marriage or life partnership is 210 kuna. From that amount, 70 kuna is a registration fee for request for the conclusion of life partnership and 140 kuna are the costs of the very wedding in the official premises.
Price will normally grow depending on whether you are concluding life partnership outside the official premises, distance of that place from the registrar’s office, whether life partnership is concluded outside the working hours of public administration, whether the wedding date on national holiday and so forth.
These terms are defined in the Ordinance on the criteria for determining the amount and purpose of the fees generated for the conclusion of life partnerships outside the official premises.
(hyperlink on Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia)
Can the registrar refuse our request for the conclusion of a life partnership because of our sexual orientation? Does the registrar have the right to 'conscientious objection'?
The registrar cannot refuse your request.
Public servants are obligated to uphold the law and serve the citizens. Otherwise, it is discrimination, violation of the law and the reason for the launch of an anti-discrimination lawsuit.
Registrars in the Republic of Croatia who work at weddings are generally professional in their work and so far we have received and witnessed only compliments about their work
Is there a marriage certificate for the life partners?
Is it possible to make the status of our life partnership confidential?
Can I take the surname of my partner?
The following combinations are possible: that each will retain their own surname; that they will take one of their surnames as their joint surname; they will take both surnames jointly and decide which will be used in first and which in second place; or that each of them will take the surname of their life partner alongside their own surname and decide which will be in first and which in second place.
What music plays in the background during the wedding ceremony?
Is it possible to conclude a life partnership in the consular office of the Republic of Croatia in a foreign country?
Foreign and European Affairs.
Do I have to be a resident of the Republic of Croatia in order to conclude a life partnership?
Do I have to be a Croatian citizen in order to conclude a life partnership?
My partner has the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina. If we conclude a life partnership, can she obtain residence in Croatia, so we could live together?
Family members of Croatian citizens who are not citizens of member states of the European Economic Area (EEA), but have the intention to stay in Croatia for more than three months, are obliged to apply for residency permit in a police station according to the place of residence. The residence permit is issued for a period of five years or shorter, if your partner intends to stay shorter. After five years of continuous residence on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, your partner has the right to request permanent residence in Croatia. Permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia can be obtained after five years of continuous residence in the territory of the Republic of Croatia.
I am a Croatian citizen born abroad. Along with Croatian, I also have the nationality of my country of birth, Argentina. I would like to conclude a life partnership in Croatia with my Argentinean partner. How can I do it?
Primarily, you need to seek admission into the Croatian Registrar of Births.
In order to do that, you need to deliver to Croatian registry office an authorized and translated into Croatian excerpt from the Argentinean Registrar of Births.
After that, once you have been recorded in the Croatian Registrar of Births as a Croatian national born abroad, the process of concluding life partnership in this case is the same as
described in the answer to the first question stated on this page related to procedure of concluding life partnership.
My partner and I concluded a marriage in Argentina. I have dual citizenship, Croatian and Australian, and my husband has Australian citizenship. How can we register our marriage in Croatia, according to the Life Partnership Act?
Life partnerships or same-sex marriages of Croatian citizens that are concluded abroad are being registered as a note in the birth registry based on a certificate of the foreign bodies, in this case, your marriage license from Argentina. Since Argentina is not a member of the European Union or the European Economic Area (EEA), this case is regulated in Article 75 of the Life Partnership Act. This article equates same-gender marriages of Croatian citizens and citizens of the countries that are not members of the European Union and the European Economy Area (EEA), with life partnerships concluded in Croatia. Same-sex married couples who concluded their marriage outside of the European Union and the European Economy Area (EEA), but intends to live in the Republic of Croatia, should translate (by the court interpreter) their marriage license or marriage certificate to Croatian so that they could achieve the rights from Life Partnership Act.
Partner and I are both citizens of Serbia and we want to conclude life partnership in Croatia. Is that possible?
It is possible.
Citizenship is not a requirement for the conclusion of life partnership. Unfortunately, the status of life partnership concluded in Croatia (for now) is recognized only in the European Union and in the territory of the European Economic Area (EU + Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and in jurisdictions regarding the European law such as freedom of movement, labor and employment. In other words, if one of you gets a job in the Member State of the EU or the EEA, the other partner, as a member of the family, also has the right to stay and live with her partner in the EU or EEA.
My wife and I concluded (same-sex) marriage in Denmark. We are both Croatian citizens. What is our status in Croatia?
Concerning all the rights and privileges that are regulated by EU law, you will have the same status as marital relationships concluded in the Republic of Croatia. In matters that are not within the jurisdiction of the EU, but solely Croatian jurisdiction, you will have the same status as life partnerships concluded in the Republic of Croatia. Thus, in the Republic of Croatia, as a same-sex marriage, you will be discriminated in comparison to heterosexual marriage concerning the right to adopt a child, whether it is a single-parent or joint adoption, since this issue is not within the jurisdiction of the European Union. In all other rights and privileges you will have the same status as life partnerships concluded in the Republic of Croatia.
My partner and I concluded a registered partnership in Germany. We are both Croatian citizens. What is our status in Croatia?
My partner, a Swiss citizen, and I concluded life partnership in Swiss after which I changed my last name. Since I have to change all of my documents, I was wondering what is the procedure for recognition of life partnership in Croatia?
Life partnership certificate that you obtained in Switzerland should be translated by a court interpreter for Croatian language. The court interpreter also verifies the translation. After that, you should deliver the original certificate with the translation at the Registrar´s Office and ask them to register the note at the birth registry that the life partnership has been concluded in Switzerland and that you changed your last name. Based on the extract from the birth registry which contains a note about life partnership, change of personal data can be requested at a police station. Also, public documents of certain countries Croatia recognizes as valid, while other request legalization, revalidation or apostille. Depending on which country issued the certificate about concluding life partnership, it is necessary to translate the certificate by a court interpreter or legalize and revalidate it in the country that issued it and then translate it by a court interpreter.
Partner and I have concluded a life partnership and we have a child. How can we regulate our parental relationships?
If your child legally has only one parent, for example, you as a mother, you can request appointment of the status of partner-guardian from the municipal court (with territorial jurisdiction for the child’s place of residence) for the other mother, i.e. for the partner who does not have acknowledged any parental status. The court shall request an expert opinion from the social welfare centre and make the final decision. With the status, the partner-guardian of the child shall acquire parental responsibilities and all the rights and obligations that derive from them and a note on the partner-guardianship status shall be recorded on the child’s birth certificate. In reality, the rights and obligations of the partner-guardian are no different from ones of a parent (adoptive parent), except that in the birth certificate of the child she is not registered as a mother, consequently kinship is not established in a legal way, so there are certain exceptions to inheritance by family members of partner-guardian. Regarding the law, relationship of the partner-guardian and child are based on ˝permanent rights and duties that, by the law, exist between parents, their child and their descendants˝.
In case that your child has legally recognized father, the status of your partner is identical to the status of “the stepmother”. In that case, parental responsibilities towards the child, that is, the content of parental responsibilities together with its parents or instead of the father, can be achieved by your partner. Such parental responsibilities and content of parental responsibilities can be lasting or be of a one-time character. A plan of parental responsibilities i.e. content of parental responsibilities, such as child care, going to the parental meetings, etc., shall be agreed in family mediation. It can be within the social welfare system or outside of it, through the agreement in the presence of a third party. That agreement can also be in writing and can be verified by a public notary. In case when parental responsibilities are permanently entrusted to your partner instead to the father, because of his inability, the absence or lack of care, the final decision about it must be made by the court.
Is it possible for life partners to have a prenuptial agreement that regulates their property relations and the marital/partnership property? If so, how?
Everyone has the right to regulate their property relations and partnership property, as well as any other issues related to partnership relations.
Life partners can have partnership property and their personal property. Partnership property is the property that is obtained during life partnership. Life partners are equally co-owners in the partnership property, unless it is agreed otherwise. If there is property gain of copyright and its related rights, as well as profits from lottery, it is also considered to be partnership property. The property of one partner that he/she/they had before they concluded the life partnership, continues to be his/her/their personal property. Such property is also the property a partner acquired during the life partnership, but was not gained as a salary. A work of authorship is also the property of the partner that created it. Life partners are free to arrange relations related to partnership property with the contract on the property. That contract should be written and signed by the life partners, but also verified by the notary public. It is important to emphasize that it is not allowed to include rights that derive from foreign countries’ laws on property relations.
I am unemployed, and my partner with whom I have been in a relationship for five years, is working. What are my rights as an unemployed wife in an informal life partnership?
How many life partnerships have been concluded in Croatia?
What is the procedure to report the death of my informal life partner?
The death of a partner should be reported to a competent Registry Office in the first three days. The competent Registry Office is determined by the place where person died or where the body was found. If a person died in a public institution, for example a hospital, prison or the army, the death will be reported by the competent authority, which is the institution itself. Along with the death report, the death certificate issued by the doctor or another authorized person, should be submitted. The Registry Office where the death was reported will compose a death certificate, with all the necessary information about your deceased partner, his/her/their property and descendants, and submit it to the competent court, or notary public for the beginning of the inheritance proceeding. The death certificate can be handed to you, if you ask for it. Since it is an informal life partnership, the registrar will ask you a notarized statement that you and your partner were informal life partners. If you did not have it before, it could be made after the partner´s death. It is important to have two witnesses, i.e. the statement should be confirmed by persons that were close to your partner. After that, the registrar will register your personal data in the death certificate, in the column ´family relation to the deceased´.