Did I Get Married In Ghana? I’ve Never Been There

Did I Get Married In Ghana? I’ve Never Been There

I wonder whether this blog could start with a request for assistance please? If you go to my website you will see that it has been updated. The hope is that navigation will be a little easier. As with all computer changes, the easy bit seems to be the writing and installing of the new program followed then by the harder bit of identifying any errors or bugs.

For example a website that renders well on a PC might not look the same on a tablet or a phone, sometimes links may not be operative on all computer systems. So could I ask you, if you do spot a bug or any problem with the new site, be a pal and let me or Louise know?

Ok. The Blog. As often it’s about the clash between the English way of doing things, and a foreign country’s procedures and laws.

And how it can fall to Notaries to “square the circle”.

The question – a Notary colleague has been asked to witness and authenticate a Deed which a lady wants to sign in England in order to get married in Mexico. Not unusual on the face of it, I do loads of these for folk wanting to get married in all countries, Italy Australia and the Caribbean being favourites.

Yes, but, this particular Deed is also a Power of Attorney. She wants to appoint someone in Mexico to go to the wedding on her behalf – she can’t go. And more remarkable still, her fiancé is a German who is signing something similar in Germany and he won’t be going to Mexico either.

The documents wouldn’t work in England. You have to go to your own wedding in England. I have spent a while trying and failing to find legal authority for that previous sentence. Perhaps the authority is the lack of any legal framework that says you don’t. Or perhaps the authority is, YOU JUST DO!

So, if we accept that in England you have to attend in person to get married, but that in Mexico you don’t, can I as a Notary assist you in England to set up your Mexican marriage that you won’t be going to?

My view is, that England will recognise a marriage if it is recognised in the Country where it takes place, so yes, crack on.

But is that the end of it? I am saying I can assist in England to facilitate a procedure which is not possible in England.

What if I were being asked to facilitate something actually illegal in England but legal abroad? Polygamy for example. Not bigamy mind that’s something else. [There are several countries and religions which will recognise that a (usually) man can have several (usually) wives. And England will recognise as valid a polygamous marriage if it is valid where it was made]

No, I’ve got nothing. OK I’ll answer that one when it happens.

When you rootle through the internet for legal case law on any arcane topic, you find surprises. The link coming up is to the 1993 case of McCabe v McCabe.

The English Court allowed a divorce case to be heard, declaring that a marriage had taken place in Ghana and was valid.

The husband had pleaded that it wasn’t. He said – I am paraphrasing wildly– “I didn’t go to Ghana – I didn’t go to any wedding, neither did she.”

“I was living with her in London when we found out she was pregnant. My old uncle went to see her family in Ghana to give the news. Uncle gave the family £100.00 and a bottle of rum and they had a party and then uncle came back to London and told us we were married.”

The husband told the Court – “that can’t be right can it?”

Well, here is the news for Mr McCabe, he had committed matrimony and didn’t even know it.

Here is – the download Link –  It is safe, it will open in read-only mode

Here’s a happy song about a nervous breakdown. “This is not my beautiful wife” – Mmmm  You sure about that?

As ever, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com  and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747.  Please also visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com