Mothers’ Details To Be Included On Marriage Certificates For The First Time

From May 2021 mothers’ details will be included on marriage certificates in England and Wales for the first time, as part of a wider programme of modernisation to the registration of marriages brought in by reforms to the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths Act 2019.

Traditionally marriage certificates have only included information about the couple’s fathers’ names, ages and occupations, reflecting the social attitudes at the time the Marriage Act 1836 was brought in. Times have moved on, however, and following an online petition in 2014 which gained 70,600 signatures, the inequality was brought to the attention of Parliament. From May 2021, mothers’ names, ages and occupations will appear alongside details of the couple’s fathers.

This is part of broader changes to how marriages are registered in England and Wales, which will see the whole system move from paper-based to online. Paper marriage certificates will no longer be issued. Instead, couples will either sign a marriage schedule issued by the register office in case of civil weddings, or for ecclesiastical marriages taking place in the Church of England or Church in Wales a marriage document which will be entered into a central online marriage register maintained by the Registrar General.

The government will be releasing guidance on its website for couples getting married when the changes come in, but if you have questions about the changes or you are contemplating marriage and would like any advice about its legal aspect, please contact Carol Ellinas, Lucy Hoare or Andrew Miles from our Family Department who will be happy to assist.