Family Law Hub

N v N (Afghanistan: Validity of an overseas marriage: Procedure)

The petitioner was seeking a divorce from the respondent. The parties disagreed over whether an alleged marriage ceremony in the 1980s had ever taken place, and whether it should be recognised as a valid marriage in this jurisdiction. This hearing concerned procedural difficulties stemming from a valid marriage certificate not being attached to the petition. HHJ Moradifar noted that there were many reasons why a valid marriage certificate might not be available, and the FPR clearly contemplated such a situation and provided for it. There was nothing in the FPR or the authorities cited which provided for there being no requirement to file an acknowledgement of service or an answer where a petitioner had not filed a valid marriage certificate. The filing of an answer had a material impact on how a divorce petition would be treated by the court, and not filing one was neither inconsequential nor trivial. Where no answer had been filed and served, the petitioner would be permitted to apply for a decree in divorce and associated costs. Given the respondent's continuing failure to engage with and address the procedural defects in his case, the balance of fairness, justice and proportionality demanded that the petitioner’s application be granted. The case would be listed for a pronouncement of a decree nisi.

Judgment, published: 20/12/2020

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Published: 20/12/2020

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