'They said we would have to do it again in a registry office'
WARWIRZYNIEC Wawro will celebrate his first wedding anniversary this weekend. But he is not legally married to Dorota, at least not in Ireland.
The software developer got hitched in the Polish Embassy in Dublin on March 13 last year, in a small, simple ceremony in his native tongue. "My family and friends were there," Mr Wawro said yesterday.
"Our wedding was pretty small, but it is often the case that if parents come over from Poland it is better because the ceremony is in Polish and they might not understand English.
But when he went to register the birth of his first child last October, the status of that ceremony was called into question.
"They said that the marriage certificate couldn't be recognised as it was not issued by a certified [registrar]," he said.
The 'solutions' offered to Mr Wawro included registering his newborn son as the child of an unmarried couple, or getting re-married in an Irish registry office. Neither one appealed.
"If I said on the form that we were not married I don't know if it would have consequences in the future for my son, like if I would have to register as his legal guardian or something," he explained. "And if we got married again, I didn't know if we might be breaking some European or Polish law because our marriage was recognised in Poland."
The marriage is recognised in Poland, because it took place on Polish soil in the embassy.
It has also been recognised by the Revenue Commissioners here, and Dorota, a bank worker, has changed various documents over to her new surname.
"There had been no problems before so it came as a big shock," Mr Wawro, who has lived in Dublin for three years, said.
"So we went to the embassy and they had just been made aware that there were problems with marriages. It was all up in the air."
With plans to bring their son back to Warsaw over Easter to meet relatives for the first time, the couple decided to try a different route.
"My wife brought him to a different registry office -- one not in Dublin -- and she was able to get him registered without any reference to marriage," he said.
"I don't really know what's in the system now, but they have no problem. On the birth certificate now it mentions that we are both parents, but it doesn't say whether we are married or not.
"I'm not sure where I stand, but it was the best we could do for now."