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Family Law

I married abroad, will my marriage be valid in England?

Marrying abroad

What happens to?
The most commonly asked questions from couples separating or divorcing

Friday, October 1, 2021

I married abroad, will my marriage be valid in England?

Almost certainly, provided that the marriage ceremony complied with the local customs and laws of that country. For example was the correct notice given? Were the required number of witnesses present ? Was it necessary to have a religious ceremony as well as a civil ceremony ? If the local laws and customs were followed the marriage will be recognised in England.

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

No, your marriage venue does not dictate where you must divorce. Many couples choose to marry in different places around the world, where they have no legal status or connection. There is no requirement to divorce there.

Can I divorce in England if I married abroad ?

Yes, provided that you can establish a connection to this country.

To prove the necessary connection you must rely on the legal concept of “habitual residence” or “domicile”.

Habitual residence – is where a person considers to be their home. For most people this is where they live and work. If either person is habitually resident in England (in some instances subject to satisfying a qualifying period of 6 or 12 months), you can divorce here.

Domicile – is the permanent place that a person calls home. You may be living and working in Spain but your permanent place that you call home is in England. If either person is domiciled in this country you can divorce here.

How do I file for a divorce if I married abroad?

The process for filing for a divorce, if you married abroad, is no different than if you married in England. Except, if your marriage certificate is not in English it will need to be accompanied by a certified translation ie from a company who offers certified translation services.

Should I get divorced abroad or in England?

The country you divorce in could have a significant bearing on the outcome of your case. There are reasons why England may be better for one person to get divorced and why England may be worse for another person. It depends on the individual circumstances of your case.

If you have the option of divorcing in more than one country it is crucial to get early legal advice before commencing divorce proceedings.

If you would like to discuss your own individual circumstances with one of our specialist Family lawyers at Samuel Phillips Law, please don’t hesitate to call 0191 2328451 or if you prefer, email

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