What’s in the news? A number of cases where there were errors in the divorce paperwork so that it could means the divorces were not valid and has to be set aside – or cancelled.
Why was that a problem? Well, in one case, the couple who thought they were divorced had re-married and for one of them, if the divorce was set aside, then the new marriage would not be valid and there would be immigration problems for the second spouse. They had divorced using the fact of a 2 year separation… but they had not been separated for that long and they were 2 months short. Ooops.
In other cases, the divorces were started less than 1 year after the marriage. You’ve got to be married for a year before you can start divorce proceedings.
So, what happened? Well, in the first one (where they had remarried but had been married for at least a year before asking for a divorce), the court allowed the divorce to stand – various technical reasons.
In the second lot, in one case it had not been noticed that the divorce was started within the first year of marriage. That one was null and void and the couple had to start again, basically.
In the second one, the error had been spotted and a second divorce petition sent to the court at the correct time. The first one was null and void and the second one was fine. It was a bit muddled because the court gave both petitions the same case number.
The judge who dealt with it (the President of the Family Division at the time) was pretty scathing of the court, using the phrase ‘slap-dash’ which is rather strong for a judge to use. He commented on the government’s lack of staff to deal with all the work – hence the huge delays we are seeing at court.
The Queens Proctor was involved too…
Who now? The Queens Proctor. This is a solicitor representing the Crown who may intervene in English divorce proceedings. Generally, his or her interference is on the basis of new information received and occurs at the stage between decree nisi and absolute – here that the law had not been followed.
Do you need help with a divorce? Contact me. I offer fixed fees for divorce work and I will lead you through from start to finish.