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If you are Belgian, all changes to your civil status are governed by Belgian law. Belgian law applies even if you live abroad.
If you live abroad, you must inform your local Belgian consulate of any changes to your civil status.
1. Is my foreign divorce valid in Belgium?
A divorce that was obtained abroad can, with regard to the dissolution of the marriage itself, be recognised in Belgium without any intervention by a Belgian court.
2. What conditions does my foreign divorce have to meet?
All the following conditions must be met:
- The foreign decision cannot contravene Belgian public policy.
- The right of defence must have been respected.
- The decision must not have been obtained with the sole purpose of evading the implementation of rights designated by law.
- The decision must be definitive in accordance with the law of the country in which it was made. There should therefore be no possibility that an appeal might be lodged and you must be able to provide proof of this with a certificate issued by the relevant authority (usually the court clerk) that includes the date upon which the decision became definitive.
- The decision must not be incompatible with a decision handed down in Belgium or a decision previously handed down abroad and recognised in Belgium.
- The same petition, with the same purpose and between the same parties must not have been lodged abroad after a petition has been lodged in Belgium which is still pending.
- Belgian courts did not have exclusive jurisdiction to hear the petition;
- The jurisdiction of the foreign court cannot be based solely on the presence of the defendant or possessions in the foreign country without a direct link with the dispute.
- The divorce certificate issued abroad must be legalised.
Please see the Legalisation section for more information.
3. Does my foreign divorce certificate have to be transcribed into the Belgian registers?
If you were married in Belgium or if your marriage was transcribed into the civil status registers in Belgium, you can ask the Registrar in your municipality to add a note in the margin of your marriage certificate.
Further information on transcribing foreign registration certificates issued abroad is available under Registration Certificates
Further information can also be obtained by contacting:
- The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Registry Service
- The Belgian consulate in your place of residence abroad