Di­vorce af­ter for­eign mar­riage

Sunderland Echo - - Law - With Adrian Dal­ton

Imar­ried my spouse in our home coun­try and we then moved to Eng­land to live per­ma­nently. Our re­la­tion­ship has now bro­ken down and I want a di­vorce, do I have to start the di­vorce pro­ceed­ings in my home coun­try? Where a mar­riage has taken place in an­other coun­try, it does not mean that the di­vorce must take place in the same coun­try. Gen­er­ally, a for­eign mar­riage will be considered valid in Eng­land pro­vided that it was car­ried out in ac­cor­dance with the lo­cal cus­tom and it com­plied with the rel­e­vant pro­ce­dures and law for the coun­try in which it took place. You will be able to start di­vorce pro­ceed­ings in Eng­land & Wales if ei­ther you or your spouse has the right to re­side in Eng­land and in­tend to stay here. This is known as ha­bit­ual res­i­dence. You can also start the di­vorce pro­ceed­ings in Eng­land & Wales even if your­self or your spouse has moved away, as long as one of you is ha­bit­u­ally res­i­dent in Eng­land. To is­sue the ap­pli­ca­tion for di­vorce in Eng­land, you will need to pro­vide the Court with your mar­riage cer­tifi­cate. If your mar­riage cer­tifi­cate is not in English, the Court will re­quire a cer­ti­fied trans­la­tion of the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate. This means that it will have to be trans­lated by a pro­fes­sional and marked as a cer­ti­fied trans­la­tion. The trans­la­tion will need to be sent to the Court at the same time as your ap­pli­ca­tion to start the di­vorce pro­ceed­ings. If you do not have the orig­i­nal mar­riage cer­tifi­cate, you should try to ob­tain it but if this is not pos­si­ble you can con­tact the Reg­is­trar or rel­e­vant lo­cal au­thor­ity in the coun­try you were mar­ried in to ob­tain an of­fi­cial copy. The copy must be marked to cer­tify that it is a true copy of the orig­i­nal, it can­not nor­mally be a sim­ple pho­to­copy. There are some sit­u­a­tions where it might not be pos­si­ble to ob­tain the orig­i­nal cer­tifi­cate or a cer­ti­fied copy. This does not mean that you will be com­pletely barred from start­ing di­vorce pro­ceed­ings. In some ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances, the English Court can de­cide whether or not to recog­nise a for­eign mar­riage with­out a cer­tifi­cate. It may be that the Court will ac­cept a pho­to­copy of the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate where there is no other pos­si­bil­ity to ob­tain the orig­i­nal. Ask­ing the Court to recog­nise a for­eign mar­riage with­out the orig­i­nal mar­riage cer­tifi­cate or a cer­ti­fied copy re­quires an ad­di­tional ap­pli­ca­tion which can de­lay the di­vorce process. You should speak to a so­lic­i­tor if you want to start di­vorce pro­ceed­ings but can­not ob­tain the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate.

Ben Hoare Bell LLP has

sev­eral spe­cial­ist in­ter­na­tional fam­ily solic­i­tors who can ad­vise you on is­sues such as this. To speak to a so­lic­i­tor please phone 0191 565 3112 or email ad­vice@ben­hoare­bell.co.uk. Visit www.ben­hoare­bell.co.uk for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

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