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Courts have granted defective divorces

24th April 2018

Sir James Munby Takes Action on Defective Divorces

There are people in England and Wales who believe they have been divorced but in fact this is not the case as their divorce was applied for before they had been married for a period of 12 months.  The President of the Family Division, HH Sir James Munby, has issued guidance for those affected.

S3 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 is an absolute bar to divorce being commenced within the 12 month period following marriage.  It is unclear how many divorces are affected or how far back in time they spread but it has been made clear that any divorces granted having been issued before the 12 month period following marriage expired, are null and void.

This has the on-going effect that any marriage entered into following such a divorce is invalid as to be otherwise would result in the marriage being bigamous. Parties affected will need to issue fresh divorce proceedings.

Divorces which have been commenced within the 12 month period but not concluded, can be dismissed and the parties can begin the process again. It is understood from the guidance the issue fee for the new divorce will be waived by HM Courts &Tribunal Service.

Any divorces commenced 12 months after the marriage are not affected by this revelation.

If you think you have been affected by this issue then contact

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