Is my divorce valid?

In light of recent media attention, you may find yourself asking exactly the same question. So what has happened?

Firstly, you need to consider if you fall into one of the following categories:

You started divorce proceedings on or before your 1 year anniversary – legal rules state that a petition must not be presented until 1 year and 1 day after the marriage, or;
You started divorce proceedings on the basis of having been separated from your partner for more than 2 years when, in fact, you had been separated less
Secondly, if your answer to either question above is yes or maybe, you will need to seek legal advice to determine if your divorce is valid. This is especially important if you have remarried. You may find yourself guilty of bigamy – an offence punishable with seven years in prison – with your new marriage being null and void.

Sir James Munby, the most senior divorce judge, has ordered courts to apologise for the ‘devastating impact’ the errors will have on those who thought they had formally separated. He proposes to fast track those cases which have been affected but with only 11 divorce centres to deal with every divorce issued in England and Wales, this will undoubtedly take time.

It is as yet unknown how many couples are affected.

Please contact us if you are in any doubt over your position.