Eligibility and required documents for getting married in England. Do it yourself divorce without paying a lawyer in England.
Getting married in England
You are eligible to get married or form a civil partnership in the UK if:
- You are over 16 years old
- You are single, divorced or widowed
- Not closely related with the other person
- You can only form a civil partnership if you are a same sex couple.
- If you or your partner are not British citizen, then you must have a settled or pre-settled status or valid visa for being a family of a settled person (fiancé, fiancée visa).
First you need to give notice at your local registrar office at least 29 days before your civil or religious ceremony. The registration fee is payable per person and depends on your immigration status £35 – £47 per person.
Documents to take to the register office
- Proof of settled or pre-settled status or visa if at least one of you is not British.
You’ll need to bring one proof of identity with you to the registration office. For example:
- Your valid passport
- Your birth certificate
- Your national identity card from the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland
- Your certificate of registration
- Your certificate of naturalisation
- Your biometric residence card or permit
- Your travel documents
The registrar will also need two documents proof of your address from each of you e.g.:
- A valid UK driving licence
- A gas, water or electricity bill from the last 3 months
- A bank or building society statement from the last month
- A council tax bill from the last 12 months
- A mortgage statement from the last 12 months
- A current tenancy agreement
- A letter from your landlord that confirms you live there (must include your landlord’s name, address and their signature dated within the last 7 days)
If you were previously married
If you are divorced, you must present the original final court order of your divorce document, if it is in a foreign language then you will also need a translated copy in English.
If you are a widow, you must present the original death certificate document, if it is in a foreign language then you will also need a translated copy in English.
The ceremony requires 2 witnesses.
You will need to pay a registration fee of £46 for ceremony at the registry office, and £4 – £10 for the Marriage Certificate.
Lost marriage, birth, death certificates
You can order a copy of your certificate if it is lost and it was originally issued in England and Wales. It costs £11 – £14 per copy (delivery within 4 – 15 working days) or £35 for next day delivery. Order you certificate here.
If you are foreign national, you can register your marriage and divorce at your embassy, consulate or high commissioners in London. Find your embassy here Embassies.
Divorce in England
You can get a divorce in England if you were married in England or Wales. You also have been married for at least 1 year and if your relationship has permanently broken down.
For legal advice and help you can turn to:
- Citizens Advice
- Negotiator – Mediator
- Local Organisations – Sorting Out Separation
- Legal Aid
- Lawyer – Solicitors
You can also go through the divorce process yourselves, if you have jointly agreed on the cause of divorce, child raising (if any) and wealth sharing or have been separated for more than 5 years when the consent of the spouse is not required. It is not mandatory to hire a lawyer. There is no need to attend the court, if you decide that you apply for divorce yourself, however you will need to complete the correct paperwork.
Step 1 Divorce petition – applying for the divorce.
You must state the cause of divorce, which can be
- Adultery – Cheating.
- Unreasonable behaviour – e.g.: physical abuse, humiliation, threat, alcohol/drug abuse, not contributing to household bills.
- Desertion – Partner left you for more than 2 years in the past 2 and a half years.
- Live apart – If you are separated for more than 2 years with the consent of your spouse.
- Live apart – If you are separated for more than 5 years, the consent of the spouse is not required.
What do you need:
- You can apply online here Apply for a divorce or fill in 3 copies of D8 application form (4 copies if you want to involve a third person in case of adultery)
- Original Marriage Certificate or an official copy of it, you can get a copy from the General Register Office, this will cost £11 – £14. Order you certificate here.
- Court Fee of £550.
If you choose to apply by post and not online, send all documents and 3 copies of the D8 application form to your nearest divorce court – Regional Divorce Centre – post them or take them in person.
What happens next
Your spouse will receive the divorce papers. He or she will have to respond within 8 days. The response can be an accept or an appeal.
If your spouse does not respond within 21 days, it is taken as his or her consent.
If an appeal is filed by the other party, one will need to fill in an Answer to a divorce petition D8B form and pay a £245 court fee.
Step 2 Decree Nisi – court order application
You will need to submit a D084 form, a copy of the other party’s response and a statement confirmation form depending on the reason you stated in your divorce application.
- adultery statement
- unreasonable behaviour statement
- desertion statement
- 2 years’ separation statement
- 5 years’ separation statement
What happens next
After the judge has granted you the decree nisi, you will have to wait 43 days (6 weeks and 1 day) before you can apply for a ‘decree absolute’ to end the marriage.
Step 3 Decree Absolute – Pronouncement of the divorce.
After 6 weeks and 1 day of the Decree Nisi you can apply for the decree nisi to be made absolute within 12 months. You will need to fill in a D36 form.
The court will then send you both a decree absolute. When you receive your decree absolute, you are divorced, no longer married and free to marry again if you wish.