I want to remarry, but I'm not yet divorced


It can be a tricky situation; you’ve found love with another person and want to get married, but you’re not yet divorced from your ex-partner. What do you do?

In the UK, if you were to marry someone whilst currently being married to someone else, legally known as bigamy, you could potentially go to jail for seven years or end up with a fine. In legal terms, bigamy means being married to two people at the same time, who may or may not know about each other.

Legally enter into marriage with your new partner

It may be that you are already going through the divorce process, however, to legally separate from your husband or wife, you must obtain a Decree Absolute. Without this legal document, your marriage has not ended.

Whether you decide to have your next marriage in a church or other venue, you will be expected to present a Decree Absolute as evidence of your divorce at least 28 days before the big day.

We recommend you allow up to nine months for the divorce process to complete, which can depend on circumstances such as the cooperation of your ex-partner and the speed of the court.

Don’t be tempted by a “quickie divorce”

It’s understandable that you may be desperate to marry your new partner, start a new life together and get the divorce of your previous marriage out of the way. It might seem enticing and cost-effective to avoid paying solicitor fees, but getting a quickie or DIY divorce does have its drawbacks. The court will reject papers which are not 100% accurate. This can cause significant delays. Court staff are not permitted to give legal advice either. You might also unwittingly end up with an Order to pay the other party’s costs. What should you put in the financial claims section? What do I do if my ex ignores the papers, or causes delay? An experienced family solicitor will get you through the maze in the shortest time possible, and without the need for you to ever attend court in person.

With more than two in five marriages now ending in divorce, it is important to obtain professional legal advice to try to prevent any financial and paper work mishaps further down the line. One main concern is that without a financial clear break court order (which is often the case when doing a quickie divorce) to deal with specific financial issues, this leaves the future door open to either party making further claims. Both you and your new partner will then have to disclose your full financial position, with evidence, to the other party and the court. See our previous blog for securing a ‘financial divorce’.

If you and your ex-partner are unable to come to an agreement regarding the home, finances or arrangements for any children involved, it is vital that you seek expert advice. You may also benefit from mediation services, potentially diminishing any need to issue court proceedings. Even if you can reach an agreement on all of the issues, the correct legal documentation needs to be drafted and lodged at court for the Judge to approve. Without the Judge signing and sealing any agreement, it is not legally binding at all.

In a nutshell…

Before you can legally remarry, ensure you seek legal advice and seek proof, through a Decree Absolute, that your divorce has officially ended.

For more information and guidance on applying for a Decree Absolute and getting your divorce finalised, or to have a confidential one-on-one chat with one of our professionals, please get in touch with our Family Law Team who are well-known experts in divorce, separation and financial matters.

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John W Davies Legal Limited is a Company registered in England and Wales with registered number 09901614. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales, registration number 634493. A list of directors and their professional qualifications is open to inspection at the registered office 27 Bridge Street, Newport, NP20 4BG.