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FAQ: How to divorce a lost spouse

19 July 2017

The Law Society library maintains a database of enquiries called Common Queries. These include results from research to find forms, precedents, rules, regulations and guidance. These records can be freely accessed via the library catalogue Library Knowledge Base.

Divorce proceedings - lack of marriage certificate

Many years ago the Library received a call from a solicitor whose client wanted to get divorced.

The slight problem was he didn’t know when he had got married (he had a date range); or where (somewhere in Bangkok); had no paperwork and no idea where his wife was. 

Rayden & Jackson on Relationship Breakdown, Finance and Children. 19th ed. (looseleaf) para. 3.200 discusses the procedure set out by the Family Procedure Rules 2010, Practice Direction 7A para 3.1 when a foreign marriage is not disputed along with a list of proof required.

FDR 2010 PD 7A 3.5 states that:

'The requirements of this Practice Direction do not prevent the existence and validity of a marriage, or of an overseas relationship which is not a marriage, being proved in accordance with -

(a) the Evidence (Foreign, Dominion and Colonial Documents) Act 1933; or

(b) any other method authorised in any other Practice Direction, rule or Act.’ 

Record last checked 18 July 2017

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For further help and enquiries please contact the Law Society Library on 020 7320 5946 or e-mail us at

This FAQ is compiled by the Law Society Library. Comments relating to the questions should be sent to

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.


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