When a marriage is invalid, surnames for the children

A marriage is invalid if certain factors have being omitted. Greek law recognizes two types of wedding ceremonies: church and civil. If a wedding has not taken place in a church or in a town hall, it is as if it has never taken place. A marriage is also invalid if: a) either of the two people married under duress. b) if either of the two is under 18 years old. c) if either of the pair is already married to someone else, and has not legally divorced. d) Close relatives are not allowed to marry (uncles, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews). e) A person may not marry the child he/she has adopted. Even if the adoption is later dissolved, two people who have had this relationship may not marry. This is because the law declares that just as a father may not marry his own child, a person who has legally taken on this role can not marry his own child. The law declares that parents are obliged to take care of the matter of their children’s surnames with an irrevocable official declaration. This declaration must take place prior to the wedding, either in front of a notary or before the person who is to perform the ceremony. The declared surname will be the same for all the couple’s children. The surname given to the child may be the father’s, the mother’s, or both. Whatever the decision, the children cannot have more that two surnames. In case of a person with two surnames who marries, that person can either pass down his/her surname intact to their children or pass on one of the names, or his/her children may use a name from each side of the family or the other spouse’s surname. In any case, the two-surname limit is observed. A child whose parents are not married is only allowed to have the mother’s surname. If the mother later marries, her husband can give his surname to the child through a declaration at a notary public. Athina Tsakirakis is a lawyer. Her column, Greek Law, appears twice a month in the English Edition of Kathimerini. Cost is an unknown factor. Some banks will continue to be hampered by merger and depreciation expenses next year and so it is difficult to gauge the exact impact. It is known that Greek banks will have to continue to spend heavily on IT and other forms of investment to upgrade their systems and raise their personnel’s expertise and standards, and this does not bode well for total costs. On the positive side, they know how important cost control is and have said they will their best to rein in expenses.

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