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Adoption by common-law marriages

Couples interested in adopting must provide, among others, a marriage certificate according to article 128 of the Family Code. This requirement may seem impossible to meet for couples in a common law marriage. Fortunately, Costa Rican legislation provides for an exception to this rule. In this blog we delve into compliance with this requirement by common law partners.

Article 128, paragraph c) of the Family Code establishes that every adoption request must include, among others, “c) Certificate of marriage of the adopters or of the marital status of the adopter, if the adoption is individual.”

The Constitutional Court in its judgment 7521-2001 interpreted the scope of this provision. In response to an optional judicial consultation posed by a Family Court, the Constitutional Court interpreted that couples in common law marriages can comply with the requirement of article 128, paragraph c) by simply providing proof of the judicial recognition of their partnership. Indeed, the Civil Registry has registered adoptions with this documentation.

At CELIG we provide specialized services to the LGBTQI+ community. If you would like more information or make an appointment with us, call us at 4800-0248 or write to us at

We are located in San José, Escalante neighborhood.

M.Sc. Ana Isabel Sibaja Rojas

CELIG – Center for Equal Litigation