Do You Know? Marrying a Dead allowed in France

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TNI Bureau: Under the French Law, posthumous marriages are possible as long as there is evidence that the deceased person wanted to marry their wedding their partner when they were alive.

👉 This practice goes back to the early 19th century and the establishment of the Napoleonic Code.

👉 It was especially common during and after the World War I when a posthumous marriage became necessary for women who wanted to assure the legitimacy of children whose fathers had died on the front before getting married.

👉 In the 1950s, when a dam broke and killed 400 people in Fréjus, a woman Irène Jodart pleaded with French President Charles de Gaulle to allow marriage with her fiancé André Capra who died in the incident. With the support from all quarters, she was allowed to marry André posthumously. Later, the system was legalised through a legislation.

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👉 The practice of marriage to someone who is dead, is known as Necrogamy, and is permitted in France, regulated by Article 171 of the Civil Code.

👉 France receives around 50 requests for posthumous marriages every year. Even though marriage no longer remains necessary to establish paternity, such requests are mostly linked to emotions or legal heir status.

👉 When the applicant sends the request to the President of France, he/she forwards it to the Justice Minister, who forwards it to the prosecutor for the surviving member’s district. After verification, the prosecutor sends the application back to the President for final approval/rejection. At least 25% of such applications are generally rejected.

👉 In this marriage, a woman often stands next to a picture of her deceased fiancé while the ceremony takes place. The mayor conducting the ceremony reads the Presidential decree instead of the deceased man’s marriage vows.

👉 The posthumous marriage system/tradition is also prevalent in some communities across the world. However, it has gained legal status only in France.

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