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Use of false witnesses in marriages

The use of false witnesses to marriage in Costa Rica could result in criminal consequences for those engaging in this course of conduct. In this blog we delve into these consequences.

To get married in Costa Rica, the Family Code requires that the couple provide two suitable witnesses who testify under oath that the spouses are not already legally married. Naturally, these witnesses must know the spouses very well and the spouses must have equal knowledge of their witnesses. An assistant or collaborator of the notary who officiates the ceremony could not, in principle, be a witness, unless he or she has good knowledge of the couple.

When the couple knowingly and intentionally uses false witnesses and the Notary is aware of this circumstance when officiating the ceremony, those involved in this conduct could incur at least two criminal offenses.

The first is the crime of ideological falsehood that occurs when a person inserts or makes someone insert false statements into a public or authentic document. This crime is punishable by 1-6 years in prison.

The second is the crime of use of a false document. This would be the use of the document resulting from ideological falsehood to achieve the registration of the marriage. This crime is punishable with the same penalty as the one referred to above.

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