Opposition to marriage is a right recognized by all to protect the institution of marriage.
This is the reason why the doors of the church and the town hall are always open during the ceremony, and that the sentence " If anyone has any reason to oppose this marriage speak up now or shut up forever Is systematically repeated.
This right of opposition can be exercised by a member of the family, or the public prosecutor, on the report of a civil status officer.
This is a serious obstacle to the celebration of marriage, but the future spouses can always exercise a remedy to lift this opposition.
The opposition of third parties
Articles 172 to 179 of the Civil Code grant certain third parties the right to oppose the marriage to the civil status officer if they are aware of a fact, or of a fraud, likely to vitiate the marriage. institution of marriage (bigamy, defective consent of a spouse, forced marriage, etc.). If this defect is discovered after the ceremony it will be a cause of annulment of the marriage.
These third parties are mainly the family members of the two future spouses in the broad sense. They can be brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins ...
As well as the fathers and mothers of the future spouses, even if they are of age.
Opposition to marriage must be distinguished from authorization to marry that parents must give to their minor children. It's a cause of impediment to marriage which can be quickly lifted.
The opposition is an act of bailiff, served on the future spouses and on the registrar in charge of celebrating the marriage.
Once formed, the registrar is obliged to postpone the celebration, until the future spouses obtain the lifting of this opposition.
In fact, it is the mayor or the registrar who initiates an opposition to the marriage.
The report of the civil status officer
The role of the registrar was strengthened with the 2006 law which gave him the right to hear the future spouses.
The preliminary hearing of the future spouses
This hearing, framed in Article 63 of the Civil Code, is not compulsory and will only take place if the mayor, or the registrar, deems it necessary. The purpose of the hearing is to hear and verify the integrity of the consent of the future spouses.
If after the hearing there is the slightest suspicion of an irregularity, the registrar must, according to article 175-2 of the civil code, immediately notify the public prosecutor.
Reporting to the public prosecutor
The mayor, or the registrar, has no discretion. He cannot on his own initiative prohibit or make reservations about the regularity of the celebration of marriage.
A principle reaffirmed in the circular of June 22, 2010 relating to the fight against simulated marriages, according to which, it “ does not come within the powers of the mayor to assess the advisability of the celebration of a marriage, and, a fortiori, he cannot refuse, for personal reasons, to respect the law and to celebrate a marriage . »
Therefore, if the opposition has been lifted, the registrar cannot refuse the celebration of the marriage without engaging his responsibility.
In the event of refusal to celebrate the marriage, the registrar incurs administrative sanctions such as suspension or revocation, framed in article L.2122-16 of the general code of local authorities.
But also the penal sanction provided for in article 432-1 of the penal code which punishes " The fact, by a person holding public authority, acting in the exercise of his functions, of taking measures intended to thwart the execution of the law is punished by five years of imprisonment and 75000 euros d 'fine ».
All that the mayor, or the civil registrar, can do is report the suspicions weighing on the future spouses to the public prosecutor. He alone has the power to oppose the celebration of marriage.
The opposition of the public prosecutor
Referral after notification from the civil status officer
Once informed of the existence of suspicions weighing on future spouses, the public prosecutor has, according to article 175-2 of the civil code, fifteen days for the choice:
- Let the wedding take place
- Prevent the celebration of marriage
- Stay the decision pending the results of an investigation
The investigation is entrusted to police officers who will be able to hear the future spouses in order to ensure the validity of their consent. It is closer to a neighborhood or morality investigation.
The stay granted pending the results of the investigation may not exceed two months. At the end of this period, the prosecutor must either oppose or authorize the marriage.
The ex officio referral of the public prosecutor
The prosecutor can also act on his own initiative, that is to say, without having been notified by the registrar.
This right of opposition is framed in Articles 175-2 and 180 of the Civil Code. These are cases of suspected fraud against immigration laws, whether it is a question of white or gray marriages.
The form of opposition
To be validly formed, the opposition is made by bailiff's deed and must mention, on pain of nullity, the capacity of the opponent and the text on which the opposition is based.
The opposition raises a temporary obstacle to the celebration of marriage.
It ceases to produce effects after a year, unless the future spouses have requested the raised hand of the opposition.
If the opposition has been made by the public prosecutor, only a judicial decision can put an end to it.
The lifting of the opposition
Release means that the opposition is withdrawn. Once lifted there is no longer any obstacle to marriage.
The voluntary withdrawal of the opposition
This withdrawal can be voluntary if it has been formed by a third party. The person who opposed the marriage reconsiders his decision.
This is enough to lift the opposition.
Judicial withdrawal of the opposition
If the opposition is judicial, that is to say requested by the public prosecutor, the latter cannot suspend the opposition on his own initiative. The future spouses will have to take legal action.
The competent court is the Tribunal de Grande Instance of the place where the marriage is celebrated. It must be seized by summary procedure to obtain the release of the opposition.
The court must rule within ten days. If he decides to lift the opposition, the registrar is obliged to celebrate the marriage.