We got married in Las Vegas – is it a legal marriage?

If you just got married in Las Vegas or you are planning to. You may wonder, is the marriage legal? The answer is, it depends! Here, Weronika Husejko looks at what a sin city wedding means in the courts of England and Wales.

It is a common theme in many romantic comedies. You may recall the famous scene in ‘Friends’ where Ross and Rachel get married in Las Vegas and don’t remember it the next day. Las Vegas is a very popular marriage destination in real life. As many as 3,500 British people get married in Las Vegas every year.

Your marriage in Las Vegas will generally be legally recognised in England and Wales if: –

  1. It complies with the local laws and procedure – which in these circumstances would be those of the state of Nevada; and
  2. The marriage would be allowed under the law of England and Wales.

This would apply to the majority of marriage ceremonies that take place abroad, whether in Las Vegas or elsewhere. Therefore, if it is a legal marriage in the state of Nevada, and it also complies with the laws of England and Wales at the time of marriage, it should be legal in England and Wales.

One requirement in England and Wales is that any previous marriage should have been formally ended i.e., you should be divorced at the time that you participate in the marriage ceremony. You should also have complied with the legal age for marriage in England and Wales, which has now risen to 18 years of age in all circumstances.

There is no requirement for you to register your Las Vegas marriage in the UK. Instead, you should ensure that you take your original marriage certificate back home with you and keep it in a safe place. If it is ever lost, it may be more difficult to obtain a new certified copy of the marriage certificate from Las Vegas, due to it being abroad.

If you are planning toeget married in Las Vegas, it is a good idea to do some research regarding the local laws relating to marriage in the state of Nevada.  One way to do so is to contact the local authorities, as they should be able to advise you as to what you will need to do to prepare for the marriage ceremony including what documents you will have to bring with you.

Planning ahead means that you can ensure that your marriage ceremony meets all of the requirements necessary for a legal marriage in Las Vegas and in England and Wales.

We can provide you with specialist advice as to the laws in England and Wales in relation to your marriage, and what is required to make sure that it is considered to be legal.

If you need advice on this topic, or any other matters concerning divorce or family law, please get in touch with our team at McAlister Family Law.


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