The number of Muslim marriages which are not recognised under British law is on the increase, it has been suggested.
According to the BBC Asian Network, young couples are having Islamic ceremonies but are failing to hold the civil ceremony required for the union to viewed as official under UK laws.
Legal expert Aina Khan pointed out that this means such people have no rights if their partner leaves them or dies.
She added: "The problem is extremely widespread and it's an increasing time bomb because it's affecting mostly young Muslims, who are under 30 or in their early 30s."
One example of such a case cited by the BBC is that of Shaheeda Khan, who wed her partner in a religious ceremony.
She only realised that the union was not yet official when she was asked to produce a wedding certificate while enrolling at university.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics recently revealed that the number of couples filing for divorce in England and Wales declined in 2008 by 2.5 per cent compared with the previous year.