French marriages break down over foreigner rule

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
French marriages break down over foreigner rule
Some 30 couples marriages have been declared void because they were carried out by a foreigner. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

Around 30 couples in France saw their marriages end abruptly recently when were they were declared null and void. The nuptials were annulled after officials discovered they had been conducted by a foreigner and not by a French national.


Dozens of couples in France have been told they may have to remarry after their marriages were declared null and void, because they were celebrated by a foreign official.

In France foreigners, who don’t have French citizenship, can be elected as local councillors, but not as mayors or deputy mayors, meaning they don’t have the power to conduct marriages or other civil acts.

But no-one must have told Portuguese-born councillor Mario de Oliveira, who celebrated 30 marriages in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois between 2012 and 2013.

Last week UMP mayor of Aulnay, Bruno Beschizza, confirmed reports in Le Parisien newspaper that the couples’ marriages were in fact illegal and must be declared null and void.

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That could throw up a few legal issues for the couples, for example around the question of inheritance, the Nouvel Obs website points out.

The couples affected will now have to have their marriages revalidated by local authorities.

In 2011 the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the French constitution would have to be changed if foreign nationals elected in France were to be given the right to conduct marriages.



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