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Divorce law blog

You have a talaq. Do you still need to divorce in the UK court?

12/01/2015   By:

In respect of whether the talaq will be effective in bringing your marriage to an end so far as the UK is concerned (and therefore whether you are free to remarry here) the answer depends on: 

  • which country your talaq is pronounced in; and
  • whether your talaq is legally recognised in that country 

The answers to these questions will be the starting point for exploring whether or not you can then go on to make financial claims against your former spouse in the UK courts. There will often be consequences for immigration applications too.

A talaq made in the UK will not be recognised in the UK even if it is started or finished abroad. To be divorced here you need to go through the court under the law and procedures that apply here.

A talaq made overseas is a much more complex matter. The talaq must always be effective under the law of the country where it is pronounced, but you then have to look at whether it is obtained through “proceedings” in the country in question. “Proceedings” means some kind of State or administrative involvement. A “bare talaq” which just involves speaking the words “I divorce you” or equivalent and is effective in that country without anything more needing to be done, will not be “obtained through proceedings”.

A talaq obtained through proceedings will be recognised in the UK if at the relevant date either spouse

  • was “domiciled” in that country; or
  • was “habitually resident” in that country; or
  • was a national of that country.

However, if the talaq was not obtained through proceedings there are further hurdles. First, it will not be recognised here if either spouse was habitually resident in the UK for the whole of the year before the relevant date. Secondly, unless both spouses are domiciled in the country where it’s obtained, then the one who isn’t domiciled there must be domiciled in a country that would also recognise the talaq as effective.

The relevant date is the commencement of proceedings (where it is “obtained through proceedings”) or where there have been no proceedings it’s the date the talaq was obtained.

What about the financial consequences if the talaq is effective? Again, it’s not straightforward, but essentially if it is a proceedings based talaq divorce it might be possible for the financially weaker spouse to make a financial claim here against the other spouse’s assets or income. If it’s a non-proceedings talaq that isn’t an option.

If you have any doubt about the effectiveness of your talaq or you need more information about divorce in the UK please contact one of the members of our team.

  • Ruth sakr 4 years 118 days ago
    Is the divorce valid that is done at the Egyptian Ministry of Justice? If the Egyptian husband was domicile do in the UK with his wife for the previous year?
    • Nigel Shepherd 4 years 118 days ago
      Thank you for your comment. The position on recognition of foreign divorces is not straightforward. Please call to speak to one of our experts if you would like to explore how we might be able to assist

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