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Council Services:

Legal requirements for marriage or civil partnership

Before you give notice of marriage or civil partnership, we recommend you clarify your personal situation as early as possible.

You will also be required to bring a complete list of documents to the registration officer.

How old are you?

  • If you are over 18 years of age on the planned ceremony date, there is no impediment to the ceremony based on age or consent.
  • If you are under 16 years of age, then you will need to make an appointment with the registration officer to discuss when you will be 16 and the consent issue.
  • If you are over 16 but less than 18 years of age, and single, then you will need to make an appointment with the registration officer to discuss whose consent is required and receive a consent form.
  • If you are over 16 but less than 18 years of age, and widowed or a surviving civil partner, you do not need consent but you will need to bring additional documents.
  • If you will be 18 years of age in the next 15 days, no consent is required and there is no impediment to marriage/civil partnership based on age or consent.

Are you related?

If you are related to each other in any way, by blood, marriage, civil partnership, adoption or surrogacy, we recommend that you telephone the registration service to discuss your personal circumstances

The relationship laws are extremely complex and need expert consideration, even if the relationship stems from a couple of previous generations.

Are you separated, divorced or has your civil partnership dissolved?

You are in possession of your final divorce paper (i.e. decree absolute or final order of civil partnership dissolution):

  • If your divorce/dissolution was granted by a court in the United Kingdom, there is no impediment to marriage/civil partnership based on previous marriage/civil partnership.
  • If your divorce/dissolution was granted by a court outside the United Kingdom, you must bring the original final divorce document together with an English translation if the document is not in English.

You are not in possession of your final divorce/dissolution papers, but you believe they were granted:

You will need the original of the decree absolute/final order of civil partnership dissolution before you can give notice. If you believe the divorce/dissolution was granted, but documents are mislaid, or you have never seen them, get a copy from the court where the divorce/dissolution was finalised. It may be that the decree absolute/final order was never requested and therefore your divorce/dissolution is not finalised.

Are you widowed or a surviving civil partner?

You are in possession of your late wife’s/husband’s/partner’s death certificate:

  • If you are a widower giving notice, please provide your late wife’s death certificate.
  • If you are a widow giving notice please provide your late husband’s death certificate and if your name is not shown on the death certificate, you should also provide your marriage certificate.
  • If you are a surviving civil partner giving notice, please provide your late partner’s death certificate.

You do not possess your late wife’s/husband’s partner’s death certificate:

Firstly, you need to obtain a copy of the death certificate before attending to give notice. Copies can be obtained from the Registration district where the death was originally registered.

Your husband/wife/partner has been missing for seven years or is missing presumed dead:

Make an appointment to meet a registration officer to discuss your circumstance and next actions.

Annulment

You are in possession of your final annulment documents (decree absolute of Nullity/final order of Nullity):

  • If your annulment was granted by a court in the United Kingdom, there is no impediment to marriage/civil partnership based on previous marriage/civil partnership.
  • If your annulment was granted by a court outside the United Kingdom, make an appointment to meet a Registration Officer to discuss your annulment documents and receive advice on translation.

You are not in possession of your final annulment documents, but you believe it was granted:

You will need the original of the final legal documents (decree absolute of Nullity/final order of Nullity) before you can give notice. If you believe the annulment was granted, but the final legal documents are mislaid, or you have never seen them, get a copy from the court where the annulment was finalised.

Wait until you receive the final legal documents before making an appointment to give notice.

Foreign nationals wishing to marry or form a civil partnership

People subject to immigration control who wish to come to the UK to marry or form a civil partnership will need to obtain the correct entry clearance before they travel (eg fiancé(é) visa or marriage/civil partnership visitor visa).

For further information on entry clearance requirements, visit the Home Office website.

Need an appointment?

For your convenience, you can book an appointment to register a Birth or Death online.

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Last updated: 30 June 2016

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