You have met the love of your life and are eager to set a date. You are already looking at the dress, the venue and the guest list. Just a small fly in the ointment – you are still married to your ex! So what do you need to know?
- It goes without saying that the divorce needs to have finalised before the remarriage – and that means obtaining a Decree Absolute finally dissolving the marriage! Bigamy for those domiciled in the UK is illegal and, if proven, is liable to conviction under UK Law (with a potential custodial sentence of between 6 months and 7 years).
- The venue for the remarriage (whether a Church or other venue licensed for civil marriages) will need evidence of your divorce (usually a copy of the Decree Absolute) at least 28 days before your remarriage date but this time-scale may vary depending on the venue and so it is important to check this as soon as possible.
- A divorce on average can take anywhere between 3 and 6 months to complete. However this time-scale is very much reliant on the cooperation of your ex and also the speed of the Court considering the divorce. At the moment, for example, I would advise that you should allow between 6 and 9 months for the divorce to go through.
So far we have looked at what you need to know if you wish to remarry but are already married. I discussed bigamy, advance notice of divorce to the venue and timescales for your divorce.
You also need to bear in mind the following:-
- You will need to agree how the financial side of your current marriage is to be dealt with. If you have already reached an agreement and/or divided assets then this can be formalised with a Financial Order by consent within the divorce (usually within the period of time the divorce would naturally take). However, if this is not agreed then you may need to consider Mediation with your ex, seeing collaborative lawyers for negotiations, instructing a Solicitor to negotiate upon your behalf or, if all else fails, attending Court.
- All of these options can take time and, if you did end up going through Court proceedings then you could be adding another 6 months or so to the original 6-9 month timescale.