Marriage, in legal terms, is a form of contract in which two perons of different sex have agreed to settee a permenant family union before an authorised officer. Following marriage, parties are called husband and wife. Conditions required for a valid contract such as mutual the agreement of the parties are applied for a valid marriage. Yet, as result of being considered as the smallest cell of society by constitution, the marriage and its conditions are specifically regulated in the Turkish Civil Code (hereafter T.Civ.C.).
Conditions for a Valid Marriage
Legal Barriers To Marry are as followed:
- Capacity to marry: A person must have completed the minimum age of 17 in order to be to be reached to legal age of consent to marry. Any person who has reached to that age with sufficient mental capacity to make fair judgments are allowed to marry. A person who suffers for Mental illness, therefore is not allowed to marry .Exceptionally, at the age of 16, a judge may enable the marriage after listening to both of the parents or the legal guardian . Under aged persons (below 18) must have the consent of their parents. (T.Civ.C., Arts. 124 – 126).
- Absence of consanguinity: Marriage between close relatives, such as between a parent and a child or other descendants, between a sister and brother, between a person and his or her aunt or uncle, between parent or other ancestor, child or other descendant of the husband and the wife or vice versa, is prohibited. Likewise, an adopting parent is not allowed to marry his or her adopted child. (T.Civ.C., Art. 129).
- Existing marriage: Monogamy is one of the essential principles of Turkish family law. A second marriage cannot be entered into unless the first is terminated. (T.Civ.C., Art. 130)
- Waiting period: A woman is not allowed to marry again before the expiration of three hundred days waiting period starting from the date of previous marriage’s dissolution. A judge may cancel this waiting period if it’s proved that there is no pregnancy or woman is intended to marry to same person waiting period . In case of giving birth waiting period expires. (T.Civ.C., Art. 132)
- Mental Illness: Mentally illed persons are not allowed to marry unless an official health board decides he or she is fit to marry with a medical report. (T.Civ.C., Art. 133)
The persons legally eligible to celebrate marriages should determine that the requirements for a valid marriage exist prior to performing the ceremony.
Only civil marriages performed by authorized marriage officers are allowed in Turkey and this is safeguarded by the Constitution.
The celebration formalities commence with the submission of the necessary documents by the parties to the marriage office at the place where they are residing. The civil authorities then inquire whether impediments to the marriage exist. (T.Civ.C., Art. 134-137)
If no impediment exists the marriage may be celebrated, or a certificate of eligibility may be issued which entitles the parties to request celebration of marriage at any time within six months without repeating the preliminary formalities.
The marriage ceremony is performed by the marriage officer. The ceremony must be performed in the presence of two witnesses who are of age, usually in the town hall. The authorized person asks the parties the same question, that is, whether they are willing to marry each other. Upon hearing affirmative answers, he then declares the marriage to be enacted . But the marriage is deemed enacted from the moment when the parties have expressed their intention to marry. After completion of the ceremony, the marriage officer issues a certificate of marriage. The marriaze is also entered in the register of personal status of the husband and wife.
Marriages may also be performed abroad. Turkish consulates are authorized to celebrate marriages of Turkish nationals. Marriages carried out before foreign marriage officials are also valid.
Marital Right and Duties
According to the Civil Code, spouses are expected to contribute to the happiness of the family and raise their children with cooperative effort. Husband and wife must live together and be loyal and helpful to each other.
The duty of cohabitation indicates that the spouses are under the obligation to live together and maintain marital relations.They are expected to provide mutual aid and assistance in meeting problems related to the family as they arise.