In your memorandum, you ask for our comments and opinion on 3 questions which depend
on whether the laws of Costa Rica recognize a common-law marriage.
You ask the following questions:
1. Is common-law marriage recognized by the laws of Costa Rica?
2. If common-law marriage is recognized, what are the requirements according to Costa
3. If Costa Rica does recognize common-law relationships, what effect does the death
of Elizabeth V after the date that the original marriage agreement was entered into,
have upon a finding that a valid relationship existed?
Under the laws of Costa Rica from 1973 to 1978, a common-law marriage is not recognized.
The Civil Code does not refer to common-law marriage as a legal institution. Also,
it does not acknowledge any legal effect to this kind of relationship. In C.R.R. v.
Suc, E.B.O., Chamber of Cessation, Judgment of June 27, 1973, the Supreme Court of Costa Rica
ruled on this issue. The court stated that recognition of “any rights or legal situations
as arising from a common law marital relationship would simply imply
disavowal of the legal provisions that consider marriage as the
essential basis of the family and a foundation of society.” Finally, the current Family Code, enacted by Law 5476 of November 7, 1973, also does
not recognize a common-law marriage.
We expect that the above discussion on the laws of Costa Rica answers your three questions