Family Law

Getting someone to sit and listen to issues surrounding your personal domestic life is not easy. When you then have to consider the legal options available to you, it can be confusing and daunting.

At Shire Solicitors, our family lawyers put you at ease immediately. We adopt a common sense approach to ensure that a client’s needs and wishes are given priority. We also understand the impact that family law matters can have and by using a conciliatory approach to try and resolve issues this helps to reduce stress and the overall cost.

No one wants to go to court. Settling out of court saves you time, money and stress. At Shire Solicitors our lawyers have over 20 years experience and use our negotiating skills to settle the vast majority of cases out of court.

We can advise and represent in relation to:

  • Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage
  • Judicial separation
  • Property disputes
  • Non-Molestation orders
  • Occupation Orders
  • Separation agreements
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Children Act proceedings
  • Overseas marriages
  • Forced Marriage Act applications

Marriages Abroad

Generally, if a marriage is legally recognised and valid in the country in which it took place and there was nothing in the law of either person’s country of domicile to prevent them entering into the marriage, it will be recognised as a valid marriage under UK marriage law unless there are public policy objections.

This is why a polygamous marriage may be recognised by UK law as a valid marriage even though UK law prohibits polygamy. It is the immigration rules that are then used to restrict the admission of a polygamous spouse.

Broadly speaking, if a marriage is legally recognised and valid in the country in which it took place, it will be recognised as a valid marriage under UK Marriage Law.

For example, if you are married in Mexico or India, the marriage  will be recognised in the UK because it is in accordance with the laws of that country  unless age or divorce is an issue.

Britain does not recognise telephone marriages from the UK, if a party to the marriage is domiciled in the UK.


Domicile is an important legal concept. It used to be said ‘when in Rome do as the Romans’ but that is not always good advice. It is the place that someone sees as their permanent home where they may ‘end their days’.

People are born with a domicile origin; usually of the place where they were born (sometimes they can acquire their parents domicile). A person’s domicile can be changed; it is up to whoever alleges the change of domicile to prove it. Normally, dislodging a domicile of origin is particularly difficult.

Changes of domicile happen gradually. The question is on this important day (marriage, divorce, death) what was his domicile? Changes of domicile normally happen, depending on the amount of time spent in a country amongst other things.

A number of re-marriages abroad are declared invalid because at the time of the second marriage one of the parties had British domicile and the divorce obtained is not valid.

Divorces Overseas

Divorces obtained abroad will generally be recognised in the UK if they were obtained in official proceedings, are valid in the country in which they took place and in which either was habitually resident in or if either was a national of that country.

A customary divorce, on the other hand will generally be recognised by law if they took place in the prescribed forms in a country that recognises the customary divorce and in which both parties were domiciled, provided that the parties were not living in the UK for the year before the divorce.

In some cases where a person living in the UK performs a customary divorce abroad and then remarries a foreign national, the Immigration officer may argue that a British Court divorce takes place before the person is free to marry again.

Islamic Marriages and Divorce

Talaq (an Islamic divorce) pronounced in the UK is not accepted legally in British law. If you are in Britain, you must get a British County Court divorce.

In Azad Kashmir, a bare Talaq operates as a divorce whereas Britain will not recognise it unless there is a Kashmir Court order.

A Talaq in Pakistan, which is registered with the union council, may be recognised by British Immigration Officers.

As a simple rule, if a British based person has re-married abroad, the Immigration Officers will normally want a valid British Court divorce certificate. If your spouse abroad had previously married a British based person, that spouse may need to show a British Court divorce, even if that spouse never even joined the previous wife or husband in the UK.

The advice is for guidance only. It is not intended to be exhaustive. Immigration rules frequently change at short notice. Check the Home Office website for the latest rules.

How much will it cost?

If you are concerned about how much your divorce will cost and whether you’ll be able to afford it we can help with this too.

From the outset we give you clear information about what the work will cost.  We can arrange a fixed fee or even a payment plan to suit your pocket.


Call us today for a quick and easy quote!