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Pit Falls in “Do It Yourself” Divorce

A couple were recently told after their Divorce in a Family Court that the Court had unfortunately made a mistake which meant that their Decree of Divorce was “voidable”, and they risked charges of bigamy.

The administrative error occurred in 2013 and has now been rectified by a Senior Family Judge, who has hit out at the process saying that they were “victims of the Justice System”.

The Couple, who can only be identified as “M” for the man and “P” for the women, applied for a Divorce in June 2013 having been married in September 2011. The Husband submitted the Petition to Willesden County Court in London on the grounds that they had lived apart for 2 years continuously.

The man added that his wife had “refused to share the same household……since the marriage took place”. Neither the couple or Court Officials spotted they had only been married for 22 months. Two Judges also failed to notice that the couple had not met the separation requirements and granted Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute.

The man and women both remarried, two Brazilians in Brazil.

In 2016  the mistake was noticed as part of a “Data Checking Process”, the court then informed the couple of the technical likelihood that the Divorce was not valid.

Of course, in the normal course of events, Court Staff do not make routine errors but, of course, where a Divorce is undertaken without any formal advice being taken in respect of the Procedural grounds, errors can of course always be made.

It is meanwhile understood that both parties were extremely upset to learn that potentially they had both committed Bigamy and indeed as both were living in Brazil they could technically have been arrested, detained and prosecuted.

Ultimately the High Court intervened in order to rectify matters but,the limited cost of skilled family law advice at a formative stage means you preserve the certainty of knowing that all the correct procedural steps are being taken.

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