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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

You need to marry before you divorce

Gillian Hudson must be a very disappointed lady, today.

She thought she had got married to Robert Leigh in January 2004. She then went through the sadness of a separation and sought a divorce. But in the High Court it was decided that in fact they never had been legally married. It seems for some reason they had agreed with the priest to leave out some of the necessary aspects such as "any just impediment" and to miss out the declaration that they be lawfully married. It seems that was due to an agreement to have a later, official, civil ceremony which never took place.

The end result is she cannot divorce him if she wasn't married to him. So what, you might ask?

This means she cannot make financial claims or seek a divorce settlement against him of any sort. It often surprises women who have lived with a man for some years that they have no financial claims in law just because of that cohabitation. Living together agreements can solve this and are, I suppose, the living together equivalent of a prenuptial agreement. They do need careful preparation normally by a specialist divorce solicitor.

Andrew Woolley
Divorce Solicitor


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