This isn't a guide as such, more of a personal experience, which may be helpful to anyone else in a similar situation.
I was married in England and subsequently divorced in Spain due to my ex wife still living there at the time and a divorce document was issued by the local court, of which I have the original.
Anyway, my lady and I want to get married in BA, but of course we need to jump through a few hoops first and this is not unexpected.
Today we went to the Vicente Lopez registry office with a certified copy of my marriage (previous) certificate with an apostille attached, as well as the original divorce judgement from Spain.
All well and good so far.
As expected, the girl in the booth wasn't qualified to advise on this subject, so she went off and consulted with a more senior colleague and returned with the following information:
The Spanish divorce judgement will need to be legalised/apostilled with a competent authority, which we have to assume is the Spanish consulate here in BA, because they couldn't confirm that to be the case. We are now making enquiries in that direction.
The apostilled, certified copy of my marriage certificate needs to be 'updated'.
Now, that threw me completely, because the apostilled document should not have a sell-by date, but some countries may insist that it's no longer valid. I can obtain a new certified and apostilled marriage certificate from the UK General Register Office (GRO) for around £40. This will then need to be translated into Spanish by a certified member of the Argentine College of Translators.
So far, so good.
In Argentina and a handful of other countries, when a couple get divorced, the marriage certificate is endorsed showing that the marriage has been annulled. This is known as a nota marginal and without it, the marriage is still considered to be in force, so to speak - at least in Argentina. (The UK does not endorse marriage certificates in this way)
Since the divorce took place in Spain, one would assume that, since they are one of the few countries that endorse marriage certificates with the nota marginal annulling the marriage, the certificate could be endorsed.
However, further research has indicated that the original marriage would need to have been registered in Spain for this to be possible. This then begs the question: how could they issue a divorce judgement if the marriage wasn't registered in Spain in the first place?
I was armed with information on this rather complicated issue prior to going to the registry, having previously spoken to someone at the British Embassy. At one time the embassy would issue something known as a certificate of no impediment (CNI), but it's now my understanding that they don't issue these any more. The registry therefore asked if the embassy could issue a letter stating that they don't issue such certificates, so I've been in touch with the embassy again for their comment.
Reading between the lines here and based on what information I was able to gleen from a UK lawyer, if we were to get married in the UK, all that would be required would be a translated version of the Spanish judgement, since an EU divorce is recognised in the UK.
That's an avenue that we're also exploring, but in the meantime we're going to chat with an Argentine lawyer friend of the family and then contact the Spanish consulate for clarification on the document legalisation issue.
More posts on this will follow, be in no doubt.