Marriage in Panama

If you decide to get married in Panama here are a few things you should know. First, a good pre nuptial agreement may save a lot of headaches later. 1. Marriage to a Panamanian will give you the right to residency and to a work permit. For this to apply the marriage must be registered in Panama.  

2. Marriages in Panama are based on the principal of common property. Thus when you marry, anything that you, or your spouse have purchased, received, built or inherited during the course of the marriage, belongs to both of you. If this is not what you want then you need to get married under a different marriage principle, which is possible.

3. Family law in Panama is very partial to the female, especially when there are children involved. While family laws in Panama do promote “equality” and are established to provide equal footing for both spouses, the general practice is that the woman is favored.

4. If you have cohabitated a residence or shared a bed with someone of the opposite sex in a “conjugal fashion”, for more than five (5) years, then a “de facto” marriage can be claimed. However, this “marriage” must be declared to be a marriage by a Judge. One needs to provide sufficient evidence to support this claim. This may include testimony from witnesses as well as other means.

5. There are no same-sex marriages or civil union rights for same-sex couples in Panama. Even if you are married elsewhere you can’t register a same-sex marriage in Panama. So, if this is the case, you must find alternative ways to establish common assets and build a “marital estate”. Under Panama law there are means for you to do this.

Our next installment deals with divorce in Panama.



The nice people at LEGALCORP.