Do courts in the UK recognise marriages or divorces finalised overseas?

Many people worry whether their overseas divorce or marriage will hold legal weight in UK courts. In terms of marriage, the UK has very few limitations on which marriages will be recognised. As long as the marriage followed correct legal procedure in the jurisdiction where it was finalised and the parties were eligible to marry according to the laws of their country of domicile, the marriage will be accepted in the UK. It should be noticed that original marriage certificates may need to be seen by authorities in the UK, or at least copies (translated if necessary) which have been cleared by a lawyer.

Divorcing within the UK is comparatively simple. England and Wales will accept a divorce granted in Scotland or Northern Ireland –  and vice versa. It is fairly similar in the EU where there are only very few scenarios in which an EU member state will not recognise a divorce granted by another member.

It becomes more complicated for foreign divorce granted outside the EU though. In these instances, it all comes down to judicial proceedings. Where the judicial proceedings of the country in question have been followed lawfully resulting in a divorce, the UK is very unlikely to refuse to recognise divorce. However, if judicial proceedings have not been followed and religious forms of divorce have been followed for example, UK courts are less likely to accept the divorce. This is because some forms of divorce do not give women advance warning of divorce for example, which is deemed to contradict UK standards of fairness.

Worried about getting divorced overseas? Call us now

Divorce lawyers with a detailed understanding of the complexities of international family law are hard to come by. Our specialist divorce lawyers have significant experience dealing with overseas divorce and would be happy to help you.

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