When must you have your marriage certificate translated for divorce proceedings?

When you need to have your marriage certificate translated for divorce proceedings

You need to have your marriage certificate translated for divorce proceedings if you were

  • married outside of the UK; and
  • it is not in English or Welsh.

Court rules

The family procedure rules contain the rules about how to start a divorce application. They state as follows”

where the certificate, document or certified copy is not in English (or, where the court is in Wales, in Welsh), a translation of that document certified by a notary public or authenticated by a statement of truth.

What is a statement of truth?

A statement of truth is a statement on a legal document.

It confirms that the person signing it believes the contents are true.

When you need to have your marriage certificate translated for divorce proceedings, the translation company or individual translator will provide you with a certificate.

This will contain the statement of truth you need.

The translator will also usually state their qualifications. This shows that they are qualified to translate your marriage certificate.

Some foreign marriage certificates do not require translating.

Some marriage certificates are already translated for you.

These are usually certificates from weddings in Europe

european marriage certificate translation vienna convention 8 september 1976
An example of a marriage certificate prepared in accordance with the Vienna Convention

In the example above, you can see the section titles in several languages, at the foot of the marriage certificate.

This is a marriage certificate issued under the Vienna Convention 1976.

If you have this type of certificate, you will not normally need a separate translation.

However, you will probably need to remind the court to look in the footnotes.

Otherwise, a very busy court officer may just notice the foreign language and send it back to you without checking further down.

This can be frustrating as there are generally long delays when this happens.

Finding a notary public

It isn’t necessary to use a notary public to certify that your marriage certificate has been translated correctly.

A statement of truth confirming that it is a correct translation is enough.

However, you may choose to use a notary instead to certify the marriage certificate translation.

You can find a notary near you by looking on the Notaries Society website.

Apostille services

Generally, when applying for a divorce, you do not need to use an apostille service.

You may need to use an apostille service; for example to legalise a marriage certificate or decree absolute, issued by one country, when travelling to or working in another.

If you need to legalise a document by apostille, you can used the .gov website to apply for this.

Help from a solicitor

If you would like to arrange a consultation with a solicitor to discuss your divorce you can visit nicolawilliams.co.uk

Please note that consultations are chargeable.