International Marriage and Divorce

If you live in the UK but were married in another country, you need to ensure that your union is legally recognised in this country.

The same applies for divorce.

This is because your marital status affects a wide range of issues including your legal next of kin, your tax allowance and entitlement to state benefits.

I am a British national and I was married abroad, will my marriage be recognised in England and Wales?

Your marriage or civil partnership will be recognised as long as you followed the law of the country in which you were married and your legal union would have been allowed in the UK.

I am a foreign national and was married abroad, will my marriage be recognised in England Wales?

If the marriage complied with the law of the country in which it took place and both spouses had the legal capacity to marry it is very likely. English policy is to recognise genuine foreign marriages wherever possible, regardless of whether the marriage would be allowed here, such as polygamous marriage which is not legal in this country.

If I got married abroad, do I have to get divorced in the same country?

No. English family courts can deal with marriages which took place anywhere in the world as long as there is sufficient connection with England or Wales. Factors that will be considered include which countries you and your spouse have been resident, your nationalities and your legal domicile.

I was divorced abroad, will my divorce be recognised in England and Wales?

If the divorce took place in the EU it will be recognised in England and Wales. The recognition of foreign divorces outside of the EU is more complex and will depend on factors such as how the divorce was obtained and your connection with that country at the time.

Can I bring an application for a financial order to the English court following a foreign divorce?

This will depend on the circumstances of your individual case. In some cases, the court can act as if the divorce itself took place in England and make full financial orders, in other cases the court will only deal with specific English assets, such as a pension or property.

Legal Advice

For further advice, arrange a confidential meeting with one of our international family lawyers. Call us on +44 (0)20 7993 2936 or click here to complete a contact form.

Filed Under: Insight

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