Marriage and Divorce in Armenia
In Armenia, marriage is based on mutual voluntary consent between a man and a woman of at least 18 years of age. Polygamy is against the law, as is marriage between immediate family members (parents, grandparents, siblings) or first cousins from either side of the family tree. Marriage cannot be lawful if at least one party is recognized as incapacitated. Both parties must be present at the signing of the certificate, and any by proxy or representative (durante absentia) marriages are prohibited. Should there be a specific reason why either party cannot be present (illness, et al.), the ceremony may be conducted in one’s home or medical institution.
Note: All property accrued after marriage belongs to both parties unless otherwise mentioned in a signed contract. Personal property is a different issue.
Official and Legal Marriage
The state registration of a marriage is carried out by:
- The Territorial Body of the Civil Status Acts Registration offices, also known as ZAGS;
- The Chamber of Solemn Registration of Marriage and Birth, a part of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia. The address for this is Otyan Street, 53a bld., 1st floor, Malatia-Sebastia administrative district, Yerevan, Tel.: +374-10-742233).
Only a marriage recognized by the legal bodies of Armenia is considered valid. Cohabitation or only a church marriage is not recognized to carry any legal responsibility.
Note: Foreign citizens, stateless persons, and Armenian citizens residing in foreign countries may marry in Armenia with permission from the Head of the Civil Status Acts Registration Agency of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia.
What documents are required for state registration of a marriage?
When applying for your marriage certificate, you will need:
1) identification documents of persons entering into marriage;
2) in case of having state registration of a previous marriage, a document or copy of document that serves as a ground for termination of the previous marriage (certificate of divorce or court judgment, having entered into legal force, on divorce, or certificate of death of the husband (wife)), if the document serving as a ground is missing in the unified electronic register;
In case of submitting the application on state registration of a marriage through an authorized person, the application containing information on marital status, filled out by the person entering into marriage, is also submitted through the approved notarial procedure.
After the filing of a joint application, the state marriage is carried out within 10 days, unless otherwise specified, as long as it does not exceed a 3 month period. A change may be requested to the date at any time and a note will be made on the application. The date may be hastened if there are children, a 12-week pregnancy, military conscription issues, serious disease, departure from the country, etc. This must be proven with relevant documents.
Note: During the application, the spouses may decide whether the woman takes her husband’s surname, the husband takes his wife’s surname, or they combine surnames. This is only available if the spouses have single surnames.
Note: Under the Armenian Constitution, only marriage between a man and a woman is allowed. No same-sex or cohabitation relationships can be viewed as marriage or recognized as such.
No state duty is envisaged for registration of a marriage, but you may see a charge of 10,000 AMD for holding the marriage outside the official offices, and 50,000 AMD for conducting the ceremony at your place of choice. Should other territorial bodies conduct the service, appropriate fees will be charged. Furthermore, if a couple desires to register the marriage before the 10-day period prescribed, there are additional state duties to pay, unless there is good reason to do so with an exemption. Particularly in the case of foreign citizens, Armenian citizens living outside Armenia, and stateless persons, the fees are as such:
For registration within two working days – 150,000 AMD
For registration within five working days – 120,000 AMD
For registration within seven working days – 50,000 AMD
Civil Acts Registration Offices in Yerevan (by districts)
The locations you can go for marriage and divorce are:
Civil Acts Registration Office of the Ministry of Justice of the RA - Vazgen Sargsyan St., 3/8
Kentron Administration (Wedding Palace) - Zakyan St., 3
Ajapnyak/Davtashen– Leningradyan St., 38
Arabkir– Komitas St., 56
Avan - Marshal Khudyakov St., 222
Erebuni/Nubarashen - Khorenatsi St.,162a
Kanaker-Zeytun– Aharonyan St., 3
Kentron/Nork-Marash– Saryan St., 24
Malatia-Sebastia– Sebastia St., 18
Nor Nork - Gai St., 19
Shengavit – Yeghpayrutyan St., 9
Reminder: All government offices take lunch breaks from 13:00-14:00
What is the procedure for the state registration of divorce?
The end of a marriage can be quite painful, and not all parties will always agree to it. In Armenia, so long as both consent to the act, their divorce is carried out in the body of the civil status acts registration. Should one of the parties be declared missing or having no legal capacity, as well as incarcerated for over three years’ time, the divorce may go through on one application. Furthermore, if one of the spouses is unable to make it, his or her signature on the application must be notarized to be accepted by the courts. It would be carried out by the courts in general, should there not be consent from one spouse or he/she doesn’t follow through, or both wish to take it to court. If it is through this method, then the divorce is finalized upon judgement. In both cases, the divorce will be registered officially.
Note: In court cases, divorce is possible through letter of attorney/representative.
To go through the process, the spouses submit a joint application to the Civil Registry Office. They may withdraw their application at any given point before it is registered as divorce.
Note: The husband does not have the right to submit an application for divorce during the pregnancy of the wife, without the consent of the wife.
State registration of a divorce is carried out by a member of the Civil Registry Office at:
The place where the spouses cohabite;
The place where one of the spouses resides;
At the Civil Registry Office for the registration of marriages.
The registration of a divorce between citizens residing without a permanent registration is carried out by the body of the civil status acts registration of the place of temporary residence of the citizen getting divorced. In that case, the citizen must submit a reference from the place of temporary residence issued by the competent authorities. Note: The divorce will become official between one and three months from the day of application. In court proceedings, it comes into effect the day judgement is served. The court may call for a three-month period of reconciliation. Rulings are generally in favor of the children (under 18). Note: Spouses may keep their current surnames or change back to premarital surnames.
It is also important to know that even if a marriage has taken place elsewhere, Armenian jurisdiction presides over all divorces of Armenian citizens. Even if only one of the partners is a citizen, the proceedings would take place in Armenia. Consular verification/apostilles are necessary for divorces conducted outside Armenia to be recognized within the country.
There is no legal “separation” within Armenian society. There is also no such thing as “cohabitation rights” from which to release a couple. However, a marriage may be considered invalid when:
The couple is under the age of 18 and there is no consent by the parents
If one partner is 16, but the other is over 18, despite having parental consent
If one spouse is already married
The spouses are immediate or adopted close relatives
Either of the spouses is recognized as invalid by the court and unable to make decisions
If either of the spouses have concealed STDs or drug/other toxic additions
If it’s discovered that one of the spouses shows no intention to make a family- false marriage
The Armenian constitution prevents discrimination. As such, non-citizens are provided the same rights and obligations as locals. More information can be found here, concerning ALL rights.
Documents needed for divorce
The following documents must be submitted for the state registration of a divorce:
1) identification document(s) or the copy(ies) of the identification document(s) of the person(s)dissolving the marriage;
2) certificate of state registration of the marriage, if available, or data on state registration of the marriage — registering body, place and time;
3) copy or extract of the court judgment, having entered into legal force, on declaring one of the spouses as missing;
4) copy or extract of the court judgment, having entered into legal force, on declaring one of the spouses as having no active legal capacity;
5) copy or extract of the court judgment, having entered into legal force, on sentencing one of the spouses to imprisonment;
6) court judgment, having entered into legal force, on registering the divorce through judicial procedure;
7) copy of the decision of the competent body on appointing a legal representative for the person declared as having no active legal capacity;
8) In case the application on state registration of a divorce is submitted through an authorized person, the application containing the prescribed information filled out by the person shall also be submitted, through an approved notarial procedure.
The sample forms of the above mentioned documents may be obtained from the website of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia at www.moj.am, or from the Civil Registry Office.
State duty in the amount of 10,000 AMD is levied for state registration of a divorce, including issuance of a certificate. The additional fee for state registration of a divorce on the day designated by persons in the process of divorce is 100,000 AMD. Should the parties wish to revert to premarital surnames, an additional 5,000 AMD state duty will be charged. The courts will decide on financial/non-financial claims concerning: