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Home Divorce Advice Can you get a divorce online if you get married abroad?

Can you get a divorce online if you get married abroad?

Can you get a Divorce Online if you get Married Abroad? Sometimes couples decide to get married overseas, possibly because they are living abroad at the time, they specifically plan an overseas wedding – or possibly on the spur of the moment (e.g. Las Vegas style).  As long as the marriage is lawful, it will… View Article

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    Can you get a Divorce Online if you get Married Abroad?

    Sometimes couples decide to get married overseas, possibly because they are living abroad at the time, they specifically plan an overseas wedding – or possibly on the spur of the moment (e.g. Las Vegas style). 

    As long as the marriage is lawful, it will generally be possible to get divorced online in England and Wales, using a service such as Divorce Online. However, there will be certain considerations that we will take a look at below.

    What criteria must be met to qualify for a divorce?

    In order to be able to apply for divorce in England and Wales with respect to a marriage that took place overseas, the following criteria will need to be met:

    • The marriage must be legitimate (ie conducted in a manner prescribed by the law of the relevant jurisdiction).
    • The marriage must be recognised as legitimate in the UK – if it has been conducted according to the prescribed laws of the relevant jurisdiction it will generally also be recognised as legitimate in the UK.
    • Evidence of the marriage must be produced (eg a marriage certificate or equivalent).
    • A certified translation will be needed of any formal marriage papers/certificates which are in a foreign language (ie they should have been signed off by a notary public).

    Furthermore, at least one of the parties to the marriage must be connected to England and Wales in some way (eg habitually resident or domiciled) in line with the Article 3 of the Brussels II regulations.

    * This is subject to change following the Brexit transition period which ends on 31 December 2020. If there is a no-deal Brexit, this could potentially lead to cross-jurisdictional litigation.

    Is it easier to get divorced in England and Wales or in the country where I got married?

    This will depend on various factors, including:

    • Logistics – if you need to travel to another country for divorce proceedings, this can be very expensive in terms of both money and time.
    • Administration – divorce may proceed a lot more quickly in some countries compared to others, often simply due to more efficient administrative capability.
    • Online – jurisdictions (such as England and Wales) which allow a divorce to take place online, without the need for attendance in physical courts, can make things a lot easier.

    It should be noted that many international couples choose England and Wales when it comes to conducting their divorce proceedings. 

    England and Wales is considered to have one of the most equitable divorce systems in the world. So separating couples who are able to select a jurisdiction for divorce will often prefer England and Wales over a foreign country (even if the wedding took place overseas).

    However, if the two divorcing parties are very unequal financially (eg if the majority of the wealth derives from the husband’s work or business), then the more financially powerful spouse may prefer a foreign jurisdiction that is less inclined to divide all assets evenly. 

    Conversely, the weaker financial party may find UK courts more favourable.

    If you are able to reach a divorce settlement between you then this will prevent any need to attend court, which may help you keep the costs of divorce down.

    Finally, to make your financial agreement legally binding, you will need to have the contents drawn up into what is known as a financial consent order, which is a court order that shows the court how you intend to divide any money, property, pensions and more.

    Does the country of marriage affect my ability to get divorced in England and Wales?

    In general, the country in which a marriage was sanctioned will not affect the ability to obtain a divorce in England and Wales. However, the divorce may take you longer than usual so if you are seeking a quick divorce, you may need to adjust your expectations.

    As long as the marriage was legitimate and there is evidence (which has been translated into English if necessary) then the divorce should be able to take place in England and Wales.

    What happens if I was married abroad and lost my marriage certificate?

    If a marriage certificate has been lost, it is relatively straightforward to obtain a replacement copy in England and Wales. 

    However, if physical copies of marriage papers issued abroad have been lost, it may not be so easy to obtain replacements.

    Each jurisdiction will have its own method of registering marriages, so it will be necessary to apply to the relevant registration body to get a new copy issued.

    Without valid copies of marriage documents (which have been properly certified if translated), it will generally be impossible to proceed with the divorce.

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

    The essential process of filing for divorce in England and Wales is no different whether the marriage took place in England and Wales or overseas. It will still be necessary to obtain a decree nisi and a decree absolute etc. 

    Is getting divorced online the same as the traditional way?

    The divorce process is essentially the same online as it is offline.

    The main difference is cost; getting divorced online is normally much cheaper, saving you on average over £1000.

    No-Fault Divorce Is Now Divorce Law

    The divorce law in England and Wales has changed to give way for a no fault divorce. This means you no longer need to wait for a period of 2 years of separation or blame one party for the breakdown of your marriage. What’s more, it is no longer possible for your spouse to contest the divorce, allowing the divorce to proceed without friction or additional costs.

    Speak to our friendly team on Live Chat for quick and reliable answers to your questions or call us on 01793 384 029 for no obligation information and advice on how no-fault divorce works.

    Key changes to know about No-Fault Divorce

    Here is a breakdown of the key divorce law changes that came into effect on 6 April 2022.

    • Couples can make a joint application for divorce – The first change is that divorce proceedings no longer must be initiated by one partner alone. Instead, a couple can make a joint application. While that may seem like a technical measure, supporters of the new law argue that it removes an in-built imbalance that undermines attempts to split amicably.
    • Minimum of 20 weeks cooling off period – The law lays down a minimum allowable period of 20 weeks between the initial application and the conditional order, and another six weeks between the conditional and final orders. That means that even the quickest divorce will take at least six months to complete.
    • Divorce Settlements – It is recommended that the mandatory 20 weeks reflection period is used to discuss and agree arrangements like a financial settlement if the split is inevitable.
    • Divorce can be granted without blame – The previous list of five permissible ways to prove the breakdown of marriage has been replaced by a single mechanism. Now all that’s required is for at least one spouse to provide a legal statement to say the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This statement counts as conclusive evidence and cannot be contested.
    • Legal Terminology – Some of the terms used in the divorce process have been updated. For example, decree nisi is now called conditional order and decree absolute is called final order.

    How can Divorce-Online help you today?

    Use our online divorce services to obtain a divorce without spending thousands of pounds.

    There isn’t a simpler or more cost-effective way to end your marriage than by using our online divorce services. Find out more about how we can help you:

    This post was written by Mark Keenan. Editor of the Divorce Online Blog and Managing Director of Online Legal Service Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.