Declarations as to marital and civil partnership status

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Declarations as to marital and civil partnership status
  • Jurisdiction
  • Who may apply?
  • General principles
  • Attorney General
  • Procedure
  • Case law

Declarations as to marital and civil partnership status

An application for a declaration as to marital or civil partnership status may be made where there is doubt as to the validity or recognition of a marriage or civil partnership, so that whether the marriage or civil partnership will be recognised in England and Wales (and if so on what basis) can be ascertained. An application may also be made in relation to the recognition of a divorce, annulment or legal separation obtained in any country outside England and Wales, or that such a divorce, annulment or legal separation is not entitled to recognition in England and Wales. Subject to the requirements as to jurisdiction, a declaration can be sought in relation to a marriage or civil partnership which took place in either England and Wales or in a foreign jurisdiction.

An application may be made for a declaration as to marital status under section 55 of the Family Law Act 1986 (FLA 1986). The application may be for a declaration that:

  1. the marriage was at its inception a valid marriage

  2. the marriage subsisted on a date specified in the application

  3. the marriage did not subsist on a date so specified

An application may also be made for:

  1. a declaration that the validity of a divorce, annulment or legal separation obtained in any country outside England and Wales

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