An usual case about a couple who married twice but only one marriage date was referred to in the divorce petition. The case name is X v Y  EWHC 1116 (Fam) and can be found HERE
What is it about?
A man and woman got married in Madrid in Spain in 1993. There clearly seemed to be some trouble with families or the background to them getting married. The judgment simply says:
Mr X and Miss Y were married, first of all at a ceremony in Madrid on 25 May 1993, and that, for reasons Mr X explains in his statement, was conducted without the knowledge of any member of the wider family, either of the bride or the groom. It seems that relationships between the wider families mellowed to a degree, and there was apparently a second ceremony of marriage conducted in a Registry Office in London on 31 May 1994, attended by some family members from each side.
So, secret marriage in Madrid that family did not know about and then second marriage in London.
Things did not go well and the couple divorced in 1997, with the husband starting divorce proceedings based on the wife’s adultery. That was not defended, meaning the wife must had admitted to the adultery and signed the paperwork.
Fine. So what is the issue?
Well, the divorce petition and the decree absolute referred only to the date of the second marriage – you know, the marriage where they were already married – and not the first marriage in Madrid.
Oh. So, are they married or not?
The husband said no and was asking the court to make the correction to the divorce documentation. The wife’s position:
Her case now in 2020, in a nutshell, is that she considers that she is still married to Mr X, and that the Spanish marriage governs their status, and that they cannot be divorced unless and until there are divorce proceedings in Spain. She has, however, indicated a willingness to agree to a contrary outcome, provided a very substantial financial settlement is now made in her favour.
In other words, if the amount paid was right, she would agree they were divorced.
Ah. Money. So, what did the judge do?
The judge deciding this was the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane. (A ‘top judge’, as newspapers like to say). He has a quick romp through the case law and statute on the topic and then comes out to the fair and sensible solution that this couple is divorced and the court will amend the papers to include reference to the earlier Madrid marriage.
An interesting case and one that shows the fairness of our family jurisdiction very well.
If you need help in a family matter, contact me.