Q&A As foreign nationals who married overseas, can we divorce in UK?

Q:      We got married in Latvia and now live in UK. Since the last two years we have not been getting along and want to divorce. Can we get divorced in UK? If we can, what do we need to do? What papers do we need to have? We have stopped already living together.

A:       You can get divorced in England and Wales provided one or both of you has been habitually resident here for a full twelve months up to the date when you apply for a divorce, and you have proof that your marriage was executed in accordance with the local custom and law of the country where it took place.

To establish habitual residence, you will need to show that you have a right to reside in the UK and have made it your home for the time being. Residence is very different from Domicile, which is a much more permanent concept and shows you do not intend to return to live in the country where you were born.

When applying for your divorce, all relevant paperwork and applications must be submitted to the Courts in English or Welsh. This includes any documents such as your marriage certificate that may not have originally been produced in English or Welsh. You will need your original marriage certificate and an official translation of it if it is not in English or Welsh. You can usually obtain certified copies, but you can apply to court to dispense with filing a marriage certificate in certain circumstances.

This area of law is not straightforward and as such it would be helpful for you to make an appointment to see a divorce solicitor who can explain matters in more detail.  The solicitor would likewise be able to inform you as to how the Court will approach financial settlement and arrangements for any children you may have.

This question has been answered by Sean Rollinson, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194

Sean Rolinson

Sean Rolinson


Part of the Family and Matrimonial team in Wrexham