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Newlyweds Could be Fined if they Don't Abide by New Law

View profile for Mikaela Rogerson
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Couples planning to go on honeymoon straight after their wedding may have to change their plans when new electoral registration laws come into effect.

At present, a marriage is registered at the time of the legal ceremony, with couples receiving their marriage certificate the same day. However, the Government is introducing a new system of registration for marriages in England and Wales.

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 received Royal Assent in March following a Private Member’s Bill and is expected to come into force before the end of the year.

Rather than receiving the certificate on the day, couples will be presented with a ‘marriage schedule’ or a ‘marriage document’, depending on if they get married in a church or elsewhere, which they will have to deposit at their local register office within seven days of the date of the wedding.

The local superintendent registrar will then record the details on a central electronic register and issue the couple with a marriage certificate (for which there will be a fee).

So, what does this mean for couples planning to marry after the changes come into effect?

With the new changes on the horizon, soon-to-be-married couples intending to travel directly after their wedding day may be faced with the challenge of presenting the relevant documents within the given timescale.

It is expected that couples in this position will be able to ask a third party to present their marriage document or schedule on their behalf, but it is their responsibility NOT the officiating minister’s responsibility, to ensure that it is done. If the marriage schedule is not presented within the relevant time scale, the couple will be deemed to have committed a criminal offence and could face a fine of up to £1,000.

Although none of the above changes have taken effect yet, it is expected that the changes will come into force relatively quickly so it’s best be prepared!

For further advice on this or any other aspect of family law, please contact Julie Bailey in Lincoln on (01522) 781481 or Mikaela Rogerson in Newark on (01636) 593514.