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BEHIND THE SCENES OF DIVORCE: WHOSE NAMES SHOULD BE RECORDED ON A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE?

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For most lawyers acting for couples in divorce, the marriage certificate is a necessary document that must be presented to the Court when filing the divorce petition. Many people are surprised to see that at present only the names of the fathers of the bride and groom are on the certificate, something which dates back to the early years of Queen Victoria's reign.  It’s an inequality many people feel should be addressed. A petition calling for mothers' names to be added to marriage certificates collected 70,600 signatures in January 2014. The petition said "marriage should not be seen as a business transaction between the father of the bride and the father of the groom". 

Conservative MP Edward Argar's Registration of Marriage Bill could overturn the current law. His bill, which would update the Marriage Act of 1949, would move the solely paper-based system to a central electronic register online, which would allow the mother's name to be included.  It would also bring England and Wales into line with the rest of the UK. As in Scotland and Northern Ireland, couples are asked to give the names of both parents on marriage documentation. The same applies for those entering a civil partnership.

For many of our clients handing over the original marriage certificate, no matter whose names are recorded on it, can be a difficult and unsettling event.  Come and talk to our specialist family lawyers about all aspects of divorce and related financial matters for sound and sympathetic advice.

If you would like any further advice regarding this, or any other, family law issue please contact Liz Graham, Head of the Family Department, via liz.graham@chattertons.com or call 01476 512603.

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