Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2017, 14:48 GMT

Peru: Are civil and religious marriages legally recognized? Have there been any changes to the 4 October 1930 law, which reportedly makes civil marriage compulsory, since 1987?

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 December 1990
Citation / Document Symbol PER7485
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Peru: Are civil and religious marriages legally recognized? Have there been any changes to the 4 October 1930 law, which reportedly makes civil marriage compulsory, since 1987?, 1 December 1990, PER7485, available at: [accessed 19 September 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


According to the Peruvian Consul in Ottawa, as stated in a telephone communication with the IRBDC on 28 December 1990, only civil marriage has legal value. The source added that civil marriages are normally carried out by justices of peace, municipal authorities and other local officials. The Peruvian Consul stated that civil marriage is normally a prerequisite for religious ceremonies, pointing out that most priests and religious authorities refuse to carry out religious weddings if the couple has not previously contracted legal marriage. Finally, the source added that a religious marriage may be performed, but lacks legal value of its own unless the ceremony includes the civil marriage (this could happen if an authorized official is present or if the priest is authorized to fill and sign the legal books/registers).

Regarding changes affecting or modifying the 4 october 1930 law, please find attached copies of the pertinent sections of the 1979 Peruvian Constitution as published by Constitutions of the Countries of the World (New York: Oceana Publications, Inc., 1989), Chapter II ("Concerning the Family"), as well as the section on Peru from Mariages et régimes matrimoniaux étrangers (Montreal: Editions Claude Ananou, 1986), pp. 110-111, and the articles regarding marriage from the Peruvian Civilian Code provided by the Peruvian Consulate in Ottawa (Articles 239-286, 2075-2084).

Please note that Article 9 of the Constitution states that "the stable union of a male and female, free from matrimonial bonds" may have legal significance regarding property. As indicated by the Peruvian Consulate, the Civilian Code prescribes a number of obligations and restrictions regarding marriage, including liability for damages or expenses caused by an unfulfilled promise of marriage, legal reasons why a person may not be able to get married, responsibilities of the married couple, and a general outline of proceedings for civil marriage. Regarding the latter, Article 260 indicates that the priest of a local parish ("P rroco") may carry out a civil wedding if the mayor has delegated to him the authority. The Civilian Code also indicates the circumstances under which a marriage is void or could be annulled.

The Peruvian Consul was unaware of any new legislation on the matter other than that provided and stated that marriage is not compulsory, adding that paternal obligations and responsibilities, for example, may be settled by a judge.

Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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