Getting Married in El Salvador
So...the next move, once I get there is to get married to my Salvadoran common law husband. Since we've been together for 11 years, this is fairly non eventful, but I thought maybe others might like to learn what you need to go through dealing with the documents. We are fortunate, because we have an attorney, but it doesn't make getting the documents easier. Always there are time limits. Here is a wonderful resource to guide you:
Don't do what I did and order your documents in advance...because they have to be issued withing 60 days of the marriage. And of course they have to be apostilled. I don't know about you, but I was completely lost on this apostille process, so I found a wonderful site that may help you understand this. I thought the apostille was done by some singular entity known as "the Department of State," which in my limited understanding was one agency. I soon learned that there are State Department of States, Federal Department of States, etc. So this affects who apostilles your documents. I learned that in the case of the state, you will first need a notary public, then a country recorder, and then the apostille by a state agency. And for federal documents, you won't need as much...but I'm still confused on this (and incredibly turned off by it, because it seems like a money making venture to me, nothing more). There are apostille agencies online, and they can help you in a pinch, or if you are outside the country, but they are pricy...can run $90 to $125 per document. Where going to the office of the California Secretary of State only runs $20.00 per signature.
1. A birth certificate (I learned that no notary is required for this, because if you order a certified copy, it is done by a notary. But you have it apostilled at the Secretary of State for your locale).
2. Any marriage or divorce documents (These must be obtained from the Superior Court, Family Court Division where you either were married or the dissolution took place. Don't hope for any help from the county clerks. They are a breed unto themselves, talking fast because they probably don't know what the hell they are talking about at all. And each one will most likely give you the wrong information while they are most likely polishing their nails. They are brain dead). These are apostilled at the Secretary of State's office too).
3. You'll need your passport and some extra passport photos
The salvadorean citizen must show:
1. DUI (Documento Único de Identidad) I think they also call this a NIT (sounds like neet), or that's what my husband calls it.
2. A recently issued (maximum two months) partida de nacimiento (birh certificate).
Then you go before an official [either a public notary, a mayor, or a Governor to draft a marriage license. Here, you present all your documents. Then you have a civil ceremony (not the religious one you think you want...that comes later). The civil ceremony is mandatory before the other. The official will be responsible for entering the marriage in a Duty book and send a photocopy of the entry to the Salvadoran’s original city hall ( based on his/her place of birth). You'll get two copies and you will then choose if you wish to coordinate your assets as a marital couple, or maintain your separate pre-marital assets. Anything accumulated during the marriage is community property. There are no longer any laws requiring the person from outside El Salvador to have residency or have lived in El Salvador for any mandated time, so this process can happen fairly quickly.
As far as I get it, then you are married. Yippee! Now you get to learn what Salvadorans are like once they tie the knot...he he! The good news is, like anywhere else, although Salvadoran men are known to be jealous, they are trainable like all other men, if you stand your ground. And since many have lived in the U.S., they know many North American women...even us of Latin descent won't tolerate their b.s. for very long.