Celebrity's wait for divorce highlights pitfalls of marrying abroad

By Lenore Rice

It is becoming increasingly common for couples from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK to get married abroad, but the case of singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini highlights the importance of doing your research when choosing your overseas wedding destination.

The singer has been married for 19 months and is said to be now separated from her husband. The marriage ceremony was conducted on the island of Mustique which is governed by Grenadine law and prohibits divorce within the first 3 years of marriage unless there are exceptional circumstances. As such, Mrs Fernandez-Versini would be unable to file for divorce until July 2017, unless she can assert some exceptional hardship such as abuse, or possibly adultery.

The case should act as a cautionary tale for anyone considering a marriage ceremony overseas. It is important to do your research in advance, not only to facilitate the wedding, as you will need to comply with the country's particular documentation requirements, but also to understand the laws governing divorce in the event of a split.

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 1363.