Family Law Solicitor Suffolk – The validity of marriage

Nicola Furmston Cropped

It’s rare, but on occasion, the court has to test the validity of a marriage when a divorce petition is issued.  A marriage may be challenged on the basis that it is void or voidable. A void marriage is deemed never to have existed at all. A voidable marriage is one that exists at the time of the ceremony but that is subsequently cancelled, for example where one party consented to marriage under duress.   In somewhat unusual circumstances the court recently tested a marriage in which the husband stated that he had not been present during the service. In other words his wife had married an imposter. The ceremony took place in India and the parties went on to have a daughter. The relationship broke down and the husband, not wishing to make financial provision for his wife, stated that at the time of the service he was six hours away from the ceremony venue. The husband pointed to the fact that a strangers thumbprint appeared on the marriage certificate and that there were no photos of him at the wedding.   The judge, unimpressed, found that the husband had in fact, said ‘I do’.  Void/voidable marriages are rare. Usually a trial of the evidence is required and both parties are cross-examined, a painful process all round, particularly where children are involved.

Nicola Furmston is a family law solicitor at Barker GoteleeSolicitors in Ipswich

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