Defective Divorces! Have you been affected?Many couples are learning that their divorces are defective due to administrative errors and therefore they remain married despite a decree absolute having been pronounced.
Administrative errors in the country’s 11 divorce centres have been blamed for an unreported number of defective divorces currently coming to light.
The law states that divorce proceedings may not be issued within the first year of marriage. Some divorce petitions have been processed by the divorce centres before the conclusion of that first year. In other cases divorces relying on the fact that the parties have lived separately and apart for a period of two or five years have been granted notwithstanding that the strict time periods have not been met. In all such cases the divorce will be null and void and the courts have been instructed to strike out such divorces.
Many individuals will have gone on to remarry in ignorance of the fact that their divorce was defective. Such remarriages are invalid and those involved may have inadvertently committed bigamy. However, it is unlikely that any prosecutions will be made in these circumstances.
Sir James Mumby, President of the Family Division has issued interim guidance for those affected:-
In all defective divorce cases a judge will need to look at the file and in many cases parties will need to issue fresh petitions. In those circumstances the guidance states that the court issue fee of £550 would be waived.
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