Do I have to register a marriage in England?
Posted on 18th September 2019
If you decide to seek a divorce and your Solicitor orders a copy of the marriage certificate for you, they will often ask for your details, the details of the spouse you intend to divorce and the details of you father. This is because your father’s name and occupation is likely to be recorded on the marriage certificate.
However, in an attempt to modernise the system, the Home Office has announced that mothers will also be registered on their child’s marriage certificate. The move to transform the way marriages are registered will abolish the paper-based system, dragging the church into the 21st century. However, this has caused out-cry for many who represent the church.
Under the new system, which could be in force by the end of the year, rather than receive a marriage certificate at the end of the service, couples will be asked to sign a marriage schedule. It will then be the couple’s responsibility to take the signed schedule to the local registrar office for the marriage to be recorded in an electronic register before being given a marriage certificate.
As long as it is produced within seven days, the newlyweds can disappear on holiday and ask a friend or relative to register the schedule on their behalf. However, if it is not done within seven days, the newlyweds will be legally compelled to attend in person to register the schedule, and those who fail to do so will be guilty of a criminal offence and liable to pay a £1,000.00 fine.
The Faculty Office, which issues special marriage licences on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the church has only months to train more than 20,000 clergy in the new system. It said: “The significant difference is that the couple will need to ensure that the marriage document is deposited at the local register office within seven days of the date of the wedding. The couple can ask someone to lodge the marriage document on their behalf — as in many cases they will, of course, be on honeymoon — but it is their responsibility, not the officiating minister’s responsibility, to ensure that it is done.”
There has also been heavy criticism due to the severe nature of the fine, with The Rev Marcus Walker, a rector from London, saying: “Thanks to the new rules, newly married couples have an immediate threat of criminal sanction laid upon them. Great.” And The Rev Paul Butler, a rector from south London, saying: “This is going to create all kinds of chaos. A simple revision of the marriage registers and certificates [to] include mothers’ details would have sufficed.”
If you need help to understand how this change in law will affect you contact MG Legal via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01524 581 306.
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