The names of both parents on marriage documentation


When a divorce petition is sent to court, one of the requirements is to include a certified copy of the marriage certificate. For a marriage which has taken place in England it’s the green paper certificate.

One of the formalities when a couple marry in England is that the full name and address of the father of each party is stated in the register (and on the certificate issued).  This has been the case since 1837.

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill[i] which had its second reading in Parliament at the beginning of February 2018 aims to modernise this by allowing the names of both parents of the couple to be included on marriage and civil partnership certificates – instead of just their fathers.

The Bill also aims to modernise the process from a solely paper-based system to an electronic register.

As about 250,000 couples get married each year, it is time this outdated tradition, which only allows the fathers names on the certificates, be abandoned in favour of a system reflecting modern society.

The Bill also provides that opposite sex couples may enter a civil partnership; to make provision about the registration of stillborn deaths and to give coroners the power to investigate stillborn deaths.



[i] Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill as introduced in

the House of Commons on 19 July 2017 (Bill 11))


This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Vanessa McMurtrie

Partner, Family

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then...

Partner, Family

Vanessa McMurtrie

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then worked for us on a part time consultancy basis while devoting more time to her family. During this period she was instrumental in implementing Hart Brown’s family department’s case management system and later, the quality system that led to the firm’s ISO 9001 accreditation.

In 2005 Vanessa returned to client work and joined Mackrell Turner Garrett where she stayed for ten years, before re-joining Hart Brown in 2015. Vanessa knows Woking and the surrounding area well and enhances the work covered at our Woking office as part of the family team.

Vanessa has been a Resolution member since 1991, committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational and constructive way. She has served on the Surrey Resolution committee since 2008. She is a Resolution accredited collaboratively trained lawyer and welcomes the opportunity to help separating couples adopt this process as an alternative to the more traditional options available.

Over the years, Vanessa has gained a wealth of experience in dealing with the legal aspects of personal relationships, not just those coming to an end, but new relationships, too, where a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement is required. She prides herself on being approachable and understanding as she helps her clients go through the legal process.

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