The President of the Family Division of the High Court has highlighted concerns that some divorces may have inadvertently been granted even though the Court papers were not compliant with the relevant rules.
Divorce Petitions cannot be presented to the Court within twelve months after the date of marriage. There are a number of limited grounds for divorce such as the parties having lived apart for a continuous period of over two years and both agree to the divorce.
If proceedings are inadvertently started within that first twelve months or incorrect information given to the Court about the grounds for the divorce then the Divorce Petition may be held to be null and void and consequently any Decree Nisi or Decree Absolute (the certificates which confirm respectively an entitlement to a divorce and the divorce itself) are null and void.
If one of the parties subsequently remarries, that remarriage will be invalid.
An increasing number of people are dealing with the divorce process themselves to save costs and do not always realise the implications of getting it wrong. Those implications can be far reaching particularly if one of the parties subsequently died thinking they were divorced and they weren’t or thinking that they had remarried when that remarriage was invalid.
The Court system is under a huge amount of pressure at the moment with limited resources and staff effectively ‘firefighting’ to keep on top of incoming work. It is all too easy for mistakes to happen. If in doubt, it is always safer to get legal advice before it is too late to rectify the problem.
Further Information and Advice
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