What Does Talaq Mean for My Civil Marriage in the UK?

Farah Naz
Author:
Farah Naz
Family Law Solicitor
Date:
22/11/2021

More and more Muslims are registering their marriage in the UK after their Nikkah has taken place.

What’s the Difference Between a Nikkah and a Civil Ceremony?

While a Nikkah is a requirement in Islam, a Nikkah on its own isn’t recognised in England or Wales. You may be confused if you are a Muslim living in the UK about the legal status of your marriage and your financial position if your marriage ends.

You can make sure your marriage is recognised both religiously and under civil law by having a civil ceremony as well as your Nikkah.

Does a Talaq or Khula End a Civil Marriage?

Some people forget to end their civil ceremony and some people think that once the Talaq has been pronounced, your civil marriage will also be dissolved at the same time and vice versa. This is simply not the case.

When it comes to making that difficult choice of ending a marriage, most people will speak to their local mosques or contact the Sharia Council to end the marriage by way of a Talaq or Khula.

It’s important to understand that whilst this deals with the important process of getting a religious divorce and dissolving the marriage properly in Islamic law, the process will not automatically end a legal marriage.

So if you had a civil ceremony as well as a Nikkah, you need to get a divorce.

The Sharia Council will deal with an Islamic divorce, but the Courts in England and Wales will deal with an English divorce. When a Talaq has been pronounced, the Sharia Council will give you a certificate called a ‘Talaq Nama’ and when a civil ceremony is dissolved you will get a Decree Absolute, which is the only certificate that will legally end a marriage in the Courts.  

What About Our Matrimonial Assets?

Whether or not the marriage is legally recognised by the civil Courts can also make a big difference to what Financial Order you can get after your divorce to divide your matrimonial assets and finances and what each of you might be entitled to.

So it’s always important to understand the legal status of the marriage when it breaks down, and you might need a specialist Divorce Solicitor to help you understand your legal position.

Our Family Law team recognise that both the religious and civil aspects of the breakdown of a relationship or marriage are equally important.

It’s important to resolve your issues in both systems and make sure it’s done in a way that is compatible with the religious and cultural priorities of you and your family.

We have years of experience in helping clients navigate the religious and civil issues that can come up when a marriage ends, and we can give you guidance as the process moves forward to make sure everything is covered.

For initial legal advice call our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors

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