Getting married; PAPERWORK!

So, the big question has been asked, accepted, beautiful ring bought. Husband -to- be went to the Mairie today to get the ubiquitious dossier. There is obviously a huge list of paperwork to be assembled. Some of which I don't really know what it is, or to whom I should address my query. Typing in Consulat de Grande Bretagne or Ambassade into Google is less than helpful. So,once again I turn towards friendly SFN members for help.

The situation is straightforward (ish). I am English. My fiancé is French. I have ordered a copy of my birth certificate from England. I also need a 'certificat de non remariage' as am divorced from my first husnabd. We were married in the uk in 1997 but divorced here in Orléans, with no problem last year. So who can supply this certificate? I tried to register the divorce in the Uk as advised by my French lawyer, but no such system exists in the UK.

I also need a 'certificat de coutume' ; Even reading the explanation I do not understand what purpose this serves, or where I should get this from!

Then all these have to be translated into French, but not by anyone (me for example!). 'par un traducteur assermenté auprès d'une cour d'Appel française' The Mairie employé could not provide a list for English trabslators, though she could for every other language.

Please help! I feel like crying already, and that is not how somebody who has recently ben proposed to should feel!!

Thank you all so much in advance.

Sarah Lobambola

Hi Sarah

I'll tell you what we had to do, and hope it helps you a bit. My husband and I are both UK nationals. We bought a maison secondaire in Deux-Sevres almost 10 years ago, then in 2006, after a New Year 'suggestion' by the Maire, we decided to get married in our little French village. The Maire checked with the Prefecture in Bressuire, and, as we paid full taxe fonciere and taxe d'habitation we could be considered as resident in the commune (although we weren't). We booked him, and the salle des fetes before doing anything. Then we published our banns at our local register office in UK. Once we received this document of 'no impediment' it went into our pile of documents which would need to be officially translated - here is what we had to have translated:

Both of our UK birth certificates.

My FIRST marriage certificate

Both of our Decree Absolutes

A colour copy of each of our British passports.

Plus a colour copy of each of the passports of our four witnesses (all UK nationals) plus for each of these witnesses a letter, on official headed notepaper, from their employers saying they were 'upstanding, known employees of long-standing'

A coy of our 'certificate of no impediment'

AND we had to have blood tests and a medical - medical by a local French GP, blood test at the local laboratoire analyses (God knows why - I was not of child-bearing ability, so why blood tests - I blame Napoleon!!).

We had ALL our documents translated by a local (in UK) independent official translator, working for a translation company in UK - it cost about £10 a document then.

Then we brought all this over to France with us, and presented it at the Mairie, and about four weeks later we had a letter saying that our French marriage could go ahead!!

It was the most stunning and wonderful day of our lives together (and we've been together 21 years now). We had about 30 friends and family over from the UK (who were all accommodated by our friends in the village, both French and British}, and about 60 of our French friends from the village for the ceremony at the Mairie and the 'vin d'honneur' at the salle des fetes afterwards (no churchy blessing for us). Then we went for a stunning reception meal which went on four almost five hours at a nearby lakeside restaurant Then, in the evening we had invited the whole village to our buffet dance, with French country dancing, disco, and singing from both the French male (club de footl) crew and the UK male rugby crew - very funny and in great good humour. We had the onion soupe from a 'potty' (or guz under, as we say in the North) at about 3.00a.m and everyone went home inebriated and very happy. We made the national newspapers - la Novelle Republique and another one (I forget now which one) as we were such a novelty act at the time!!

We now have our Livret de Famille which has space in it to record about 8 children - again, they are being very optimistic. I am 57 now!!

The only other thing I have yet to do is register our French marriage certificate along with our UK banns at some official repository some where in the UK - but not sure where!

So, it is a lot of hard work, but all I can say is Je ne regrette rien et Bon Courage

Hi Sarah, congratulations and have fun planning.

For your certificate of non remarriage ask whoever finalised the divorce

Certificate de Coutume does not exist in UK but the Consulate will provide a letter to that effect - if your Maire wont accept that they can provide a similar document but it is lengthy and expensive so get the Maire to take the letter - most will.

Traducteur Asserment - search SFN, lots of recommendations on here

Finally, during the legal part of the ceremony, they will state that 'Sarah Lobambola, daughter of Mr Lambola and Mrs (what ever your mum's maiden name was), divorcee of whoever'. My best friend got remarried last year and it was a bit of a shock for all concerned! Better to be prepared.