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MARRIAGE LAWS IN TURKEY

Turkey is a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections
to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. After the first
Grand National Assembly under the leadership of Ataturk the new political and legal
system based on the principles of parliamentary democracy, human rights, national
sovereignty and division of powers, private ownership and secularism, and the
separation of religion and state affairs were created. A new civil and criminal codes were
adapted from European models. Turkish women received equal rights under the law,
which put Turkey ahead of many Western nations in terms of women's rights.
Marriage:
In most Muslim countries, a marriage has to be registered and there are penalties such
as light prison sentences and/or fines for failure to register the marriage. Turkey's law
require written marriage contracts and registration of marriage.
Marriage Requirements: In order to be legally married in Turkey, the following apply:

Marriage is only permitted between a man and a woman


Any person being married must be at least 18 years of age (if judged to
understand proceedings, a person from age 16 may be married with a

parent or guardian's consent)


Close relatives may not marry
Polygamy is not accepted; monogamy is an essential principle of Turkish

family law and anyone currently married may not be married in Turkey
Women who have been previously married may not remarry until 300 days

from the date of that marriage ending.


Sufferers of mental illnesses judged by health authorities to not have the
capacity to understand may not be married.

Civil Registration:
Civil registration is the system by which a government records the vital events of its
citizens and residents. The resulting repository or database is called civil register, and
the office responsible for receiving registrations is often called the registrar.
Preparing for marriage in Turkey:

Details on all documents required to marry are available from the registry office. Expect
the following documents to be required by both parties wishing to be married:
Passport/Identification: non-residents must show a passport with valid tourist
visa translated into Turkish by a certified notary in Turkey or by the Turkish
embassy or consulate in their country.
Full birth certificate: translated into Turkish by a certified notary in Turkey or the
Turkish embassy or consulate in their country.
Health certificate: issued following a medical examination at the State Medical
Institution specified by the chosen registry office. Blood tests are taken to check
for contagious diseases. Chest x-rays are sometimes required.
Photos: six passport-size photos.
Decree Absolute: if divorced.
Spouse's death certificate, previous marriage certificate: if widowed.
Deed Poll: if the birth name has been officially changed.
Adoption certificate: if adopted.
Letter of consent from a parent or guardian: if under 18 and judged fit to marry.
Accommodation document: foreign couples not resident in Turkey must
provide a letter of accommodation written by the hotel stating the duration of stay
and departure date..
The marrying couple complete a marriage declaration (Evlenme Beyannamesi). This is
a form provided by the registry office; two copies of this declaration to marry must be
completed in Turkish and signed by each person being married.
Pre-nuptial agreements (Esler Arasindaki Mal Rejimi):
If pre-nuptial agreements are to be put in place, consult a lawyer. The agreements can
be written after the application to marry has been made.
Marriage application procedure:
The bride and groom must apply in person the local registry office and submit
the Evlenm Beyannamesi (marriage declaration), Certificate of No Impediment/Affidavit
of Eligibility and the other documents mentioned above. If one of the couple is unable to
attend, a proxy may be sent, however the process to qualify is relatively complicated.

If the registry office is satisfied with the application, a district alderman (muhtar) certifies
the documents and the stamped and dated marriage declaration gives permission to
marry. This is valid for six months; the marriage can take place within 48 hours of this
licence being issued.
Witnesses to a Marriage:
According to Civil Code, Marriage laws and procedural laws for Muslims in Turkey do
not specify the religion or gender of witnesses for marriage; they just require two adult
witnesses.
Equal Rights and Responsibilities of Husband and Wife in Marriage:
In 2001 Turkey, which is a Muslim-majority country, amended its Civil Code which
regulates marriage. The new Civil Code has taken a new approach to the family and
womens role in the family, and under Article 41, the family is based on equality between
the spouses. The old legal approach, which assigned women a legislatively subordinate
position in the family, with rights and duties defined in respect to the husband, has been
abandoned in favour of an approach that defines the family as a union based on equal
partnership. This new approach is reflected in the language of the new Code. The terms
the wife and the husband are replaced by the spouses. The new approach to the
family is reflected in several other changes as well:

The husband is no longer the head of the family; spouses are equal
partners, jointly running the matrimonial union with equal decision-making

power).
Spouses have equal rights over the family residence, and deciding where

to live.
Spouses have equal rights over property acquired during the marriage.
Spouses have equal rights to enter into work.
Spouses have equal powers to represent the family.

Dowry:
A amount of property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage.
Another definition:

A dowry is transfer of parental property at the marriage of daughter.


Role of dowry in Turkey:
In Turkey boy's family gives dowry to bride's family instead bride's family gives dowry to
groom's family.
They give the dowry in shape of money .They don't have to give any type of thing like
furniture, blankets, clothes etc. But now Dowry tradition is disappearing and marriages
are on increasing.
The dowry tradition is a common practice in eastern Turkey (paying money to bride's
family by groom's family), is gradually disappearing in Muslims due to economic
condition.
Views of Hikmat karayal about Dowry:
Hikmat karayal, a clan leader in eastern Turkey , said dowry costs had increased to YTL
15000 in Must and surrounding areas and that boys who couldn't afford the girl they
loved to move big cities to girl without a dowry.
He said his own nephew married a girl whose family didn't demand a dowry .
We have tried for years to stop this tradition but couldn't .Economic condition are
chipping away this tradition. Without having to a dowry , more people are getting
married .Karayal was quoted as saying;
Karayal,s nephew said he would spend money on his new house instead of paying a
dowry and that his marriage should be example for other couple.
His bride , keziban Gegmen said her family had not demanded a dowry ,from the
bridegroom's family .
I don't believe many families will pay a dowry under these economic condition . We
started a new trend and I hope it will turn into a new tradition bride say.
Giving Wives a Fair Share of Marital Property:

In Turkey Under Article 186-237 of the Civil Code, a couple has the option of choosing
between three different property regimes upon marriage:

Separation of goods (each party owns the goods and property that are
registered in his/her name prior to and throughout the course of the

marriage).
Union of goods (all goods and property owned by each party prior to and

during the marriage are considered joint property of the couple).


Aggregation of goods (through a prenuptial agreement both parties decide
upon which goods will constitute the joint property of the couple).

Under Article 170, where a couple has not specified a property regime applicable to
their marriage union, they are automatically considered to have accepted the separation
of goods property regime.
Divorce in Turkey:
A divorce in turkey can be started only if marriage was registered at the vital statistics
office. If a foreign citizen followed the registration procedure in order to obtain the
divorce, he has to go to the civil court from where he will receive a divorce decree. The
foreign cannot go to court in another jurisdiction in order to get the document for
divorce; this process must be completed with a civil court from turkey that will make the
judgment.
The judge may decide to offer to the two parties a period of reconciliation between one
and three years and only after that period, the divorce procedure may end. After the
divorce women usually goes back to her family name before the marriage. Only if the
judge approves he can keep the ex-husband name after the divorce.
Almost a year after the divorce, the women cant get married again. A new marriage in
the next 300 days after the divorce is possible if only judges approve it. In court, it can
be settled that a future marriage cannot take place in the next period no matter the
reason.
Grounds for divorce in turkey:

Spouses can divorce on terms of incompatibility understood as a case when the two
individuals no are also possible. The following represent the ground for divorce
accepted in a court in longer shares the same ideas and feelings. This is common
cause of divorce in turkey.

Adultery

Unreasonablebehavior

Maltreatmentandphysicalviolence

Ifonespouseshascommittedacrime

Desertion

Mentaldiseases

Incompatibility

Adultery:
In turkey adultery can be defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between one of the
spouses and the third party. Article no.161 of the Turkish civil law notes that if one of the
spouses commits adultery the other spouses will been titled to file a law suit for
dissolution of their marriage. The spouse has a period of 6 months after the discovery of
such reason and within 5 years of the following date the act of such adultery under any
circumstances. In case adultery repeated within a period of time, the last 1 will be
considered for the application process.
If the other spouse forgives the adultery, his/her right to file such law suit will expire.
Unreasonablebehavior:
The article 163 of Turkish civil law which defines it like if one of the spouses commits a
unreasonable behavior and other spouse can no longer be expected to continue to live
together with the faulty spouse.
The term unreasonable behavior is defined as the way of life disrespecting the morality,
dignity and honor or self-respect principle of the society.
Maltreatment or physical violence:

Article no.162 of Turkish civil law orders that if any of the spouses deliberately attempts
to kill the other maltreat the other or severely humiliate the other. The other spouses will
been titled to file a law suit for dissolution of their marriages. The first of these legal
grounds is defined as a malicious attempt of one of the spouses to kill other such legal
grounds shall be deemed to have been fulfilled. The second of these legal grounds is
maltreatment of one of the spouses by the other, which includes beating the other
spouse in a ruthless way, looking him/her in a room or leaving him/her hungry.
Desertion:
Article no. of 164 of Turkish law civil notes, if one of the spouses desert the other in
order to refrain from his/her matrimonial obligation or due to an unjustified reason and
fails to come back for minimum to 6 months and if the separation is still pending and if
the legal notes sent by the court to the deserter spouse upon an application by other,
spouses remains unanswered, the deserted spouses is entitled to a file a law suit for
divorce.
The term desertion defined as a termination of union of the spouses. Accordingly the
intent of the departing spouse has to be taken in to account whereas spouse leaving the
other spouse to serve mandatory service, time of imprisonment, for health care reason
based on sickness, purpose of business trip or for other similar reason shall not be
deemed as desertion since there is no intent to desert the spouse by other.
The deserted spouse is entitled to apply the court for serving of a legal notice on the
deserter spouse following as from the end of the fourth month, and therefore as from
the beginning of fifth month of the desertion. Furthermore, once such a legal notice is
served the deserted spouse shall not be able to file a divorce claim at the relevant court
for two months from the date of the such notice. The said legal notice will invite the
deserter spouses to come back within 2 months at the latest at notify the sanctions to
been forced if he/she fails to comply.
Mentaldisease:
The article of 165 of the Turkish civil law notes that if one of the spouses suffers a
mental disease, the marriage become intolerable to the other spouse due to such

disease, and the medical committee of the public hospital issues are port to confirm that
the said mental disease is incurable, other spouse will been titled to a file a law suit for
divorce. This does not meant that every mental disease will be considered a special
legal ground for divorce but only those such as schizophrenia or paranoia.
Incompatibility:
As uncommon as might seem, now a days incompatibility is becoming a frequent
reason for which most married couples are divorcing. Nevertheless, then the majority of
the couple start their intimate life before marriage, unlike how it is used to be years ago
and for this reason does not have to seem to solid bases to argue dissolution of
marriage, although it is anticipated.
Types of divorce:
In turkey there are two major types of divorce.

Contentious divorce suit.

Consensual divorce.

Contentious divorce suit:


The first one applies when the spouse goes to the court in order to end the marriage
because of conflict between the two partners such as adultery, insult and mental illness
etc.
Consensual divorce:
The consensual divorce is when one of the spouse decide to finish the marriage and
goes to the court and there is no objection related to separation.
Maintenance:
If one of the parties will suffer poverty as a result of the dissolution of the marriage and
that party is not significantly more at fault than the other party, that party will be entitled
to claim maintenance from the other party (Article 175, Turkish Civil Code). This is
provided that the maintenance is in proportion to the financial strength of the other party.

In addition, temporary maintenance is available during the divorce proceedings. This is


to cover costs relating to the accommodation and maintenance of the spouse and
childcare arrangements. During the divorce proceedings, the court will take control over
the spouses' assets and the judge can also take any other measures that are
considered necessary. The provision of maintenance will be considered by the court,
regardless of whether maintenance has been requested by the parties. Any order for
temporary maintenance will be removed when a final decision about maintenance is
confirmed.
It is common for maintenance to be awarded on marital breakdown in Turkey. In most
cases of divorce, the judge will rule on the granting of maintenance (except in the case
of consensual divorce) if certain conditions are satisfied.
Conditions for granting a maintenance award:
The court can only make an award for maintenance on the request of one of the parties.
The request is not required to be made during the divorce proceedings, it can be made
after. Spouses can make a claim for spousal maintenance at any point during the year
after the divorce has been finalized (Article 178, Turkish Civil Code).
If the spouse claiming maintenance is more at fault than the other spouse, the court will
reject the request for maintenance, even if the spouse will be in need after the divorce.
The new Turkish Civil Code has made women and men equal with regard to requesting
spousal maintenance.
The spouse will have a reduced standard of living and be in poverty after the marriage
and can request maintenance from the other spouse.
Amount of maintenance to be awarded:
The amount of spousal support must be proportionate to the other spouse's financial
capabilities. The upper limit of the amount of spousal support is dependent on the
financial position of the other spouse. If the other spouse is not able to pay and is also
in poverty, the court will not make an order for maintenance.

The court can decide to award maintenance (for an indefinite period of time) on the
request of a spouse who will be in financial need as a result of the divorce. The court
will decide whether or not the party will be in financial need and will also consider the
party's financial position. However, the party requesting the maintenance must be less
at fault than the other party in order to receive maintenance.
Child maintenance:
Child maintenance is a necessary requirement for participating in the cost of a child's
education and care. The maintenance must be proportionate to the financial capabilities
of the parent who does not have custody of the child. The amount of child maintenance
must be determined by calculating the cost of the child's necessary expenses (for
example, food, clothing, holidays and transport).
The financial status of both parents must be considered, along with the needs of the
child, when calculating child maintenance. An equitable amount must be determined.
It is possible to bring an action to increase or decrease the amount of child
maintenance.
Child maintenance must be paid on a monthly basis and not as a lump sum payment.
Custody and guardianship of children in turkey:
The question of custody after divorce in turkey is one of the most important questions.
The term custody of child implies certain rights and duties of parents to provide the
safety, proper care and development of child.
The decision on child custody can only be made by the court of Turkish Republic.
Before making this decision, the judge must listen to both of the parents. The court
always considered the childs welfare to be the main priority and tries to meet the
interest of a child.
In order to decide which one of the parents the child should stay with, the judge takes
the following factors into account:

The age of child.

Psychological, physical and emotional development of a child.


Education of a child.
Economic and social position of each parent.
Education and professional activity of each parent.
Social circle and lifestyle of each parent.

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European
Convention on the Exercise of Childrens Rights, which were adopted on the
temtory of Turkish Republic, every child who is able to freely express her/his thoughts
has the right to voice her/his opinion in the court. The judge must take the views of the
child into account.
The court must take the decision objectively and impartially. In practice there are some
cases where the parent even gives the court pictures of the house where the child will
live.
According to the Civil Court of Turkey:
Article 335: Every child who has not attained the age of 18 needs guardianship.
Custody shall not be taken from the parents unless there is a legal reason.
Article 336: When the parents are married, the custody of child must be carried out
jointly by both of them.
Article 337: If parents are not married, custody belongs to the mother. But the judge will
entrusts the custody of the child to father in the cases where the mother is minor,
disabled or dead or the custody is taken from her.
According to the law of Turkish Republic, the fact that the childs mother is not Muslim
and original Turk does not prevent normal physical, mental and personal development
of child. Therefore, nationality and religion the childs mother cannot affect the decision
of the court. The court cannot award the guardianship to anyone else but the father or
the mother of the child.
In the case of uncontested divorce the childs mother voluntarily agreed to give the
rights of custody to the father, she will not be able to request the restoration
guardianship rights again.

Turkish Inheritance Law:


According to this system, there is three degree of relationship. The members of first
degree have unlimited capacity on inheritage without any condition. The members of
second degree can be inheritor. The members of this degree are the father and the
mother of the deceased. In case that nobody can not be also found in the second
degree, then the members of the third degree can be inheritor. Grand father and grand
mother are defined as third degree according to the law.

The children of the deceased are the primary inheritors and they have all equal

shares on their fathers or mothers asset.


In the absence of children, the parents of the deceased are the statutory heirs.
If the parents are dead, the grandparents of the deceased and their offspring are

the statutory heirs.


If the spouse of the deceased is included with children in the sharing of the

inheritance, then he/she has a statutory share of one-fourth.


A spouse who is sharing the inheritance with the deceaseds father, mother, and

their offspring has a statutory share of one half.


A spouse who is sharing the inheritance with the deceaseds grandfather,

grandmother, and their offspring has a statutory share of three-fourths.


If none of the deceaseds next of kin survives, the entire estate goes to the

surviving spouse.
If the deceased leaves no surviving heirs, the estate becomes the property of the
State.

Reserved portions are defined according to Turkish Civil Code as follows:

Children 75% of the statutory share


Father and Mother 50% of the statutory share
Brother and Sister 25% of the statutory share
Surviving spouse with no children 50% of the statutory share