Over the years, the English court has had to develop a raft of rules to try to determine which cultural and religious ties are to be recognised as marriages and which dissolutions should be recognised as divorces.
These rules are very complicated and differ depending on where the marriage or divorce took place. For example, different rules apply to the English court’s recognition of marriages which take place in Commonwealth countries and those which take place in other overseas jurisdictions. There are rules which determine the validity of marriages which take place on, for example, merchant ships, and other exotic locations. If the marriage is not recognised by the English court then it may be void or voidable which, in itself, gives rise to further complications as to whether the marriage should be annulled rather than dissolved, and then whether there can be financial proceedings in this country, notwithstanding the fact that the foreign marriage may not be recognised by the English court.
So far as foreign divorces are concerned, the validity of such documents will depend on whether the divorce is obtained by way of ‘proceedings’ (i.e. involving some sort of judicial or civil process) or pronounced without such action (certain kinds of talaq, for example). Again, there are complicated rules which apply and the validity of the foreign divorce will depend on where the parties live and the law of the country in which the divorce was obtained.
Hughes Fowler Carruthers has a depth and diversity of knowledge across the spectrum of foreign marriage and divorce, and wide experience of the specialist rules and procedures involved.