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When is a Divorce Not Legally Binding?

Yesterday we blogged about the importance of meeting legal and procedural requirements for a valid marriage when trying to tie the knot.

A case reported in The Times on Friday also highlights the importance of paying the same level of attention to the legal and procedural requirements for obtaining a valid divorce.

The Times reports the case of a couple who believed they had been divorced in 2012, following a divorce procedure aimed at legally ending the marriage in Russian Consulate.

Believing they had effectively ended their marriage, the wife went on to re-marry, and the report suggests that the husband made plans to do so. Unfortunately, a Judge has ruled that the process undertaken did not constitute a legally-recognised divorce and that the marriage therefore remained in subsistence. This is likely to mean that the wife has (inadvertently) undertaken a bigamous and therefore invalid marriage to her second spouse.

It's important not to assume that all divorce processes are automatically effective at legally ending a marriage. If the divorce has been ended as a result of anything other than the usual Court process here in the UK, it's always advisable to double-check the position before entering into any further marriage ceremony.

Many people would be surprised to understand how many processes dealing with a separated couple are not in fact sufficient to constitute a valid divorce. In some cases, a religious, cultural or procedural process may need to be supplemented by a Court-based process.

Cara Nuttall is a Family & Divorce Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

Slater and Gordon offer flexible pricing, fixed price divorce and fixed fee Family Law services.

For a free initial consultation call our Family & Divorce Solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help. Our contact centre in Manchester is open 24 hours 7 days a week.

We also offer an easy to understand guide book on Marriage, Divorce, Children, Separation & The Legal System that clearly defines the legal journey ahead for people facing a separation or divorce; see Family Law Made Simple.

Slater and Gordon have over 1,200 staff in 18 offices located in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire where you can meet with an expert Solicitor.


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