Phew! The relief for the couple who had already re-married other people despite still being married to each other is finally over. Last week, Sir James Munby, a senior family law Judge, finally provided the couple (and their current spouses) with the relief they had been hoping for.

Their saga goes back to 2013 when a box on their divorce petition had inadvertently not been ticked by the Husband. Unnoticed by the Court staff, the couple began to re-build their lives; each met another partner and each subsequently married foreign nationals.

Can you imagine their horror when they were told, over three years, later that, as the Husband had not completed the divorce petition correctly, they were still legally married to each other. By that time, the Husband had remarried his new Brazilian wife in South America. His ex-Wife also went on to marry a Brazilian national two years later.

With more and more couples, opting to deal with the divorce process themselves, this case is a salutary lesson to deal with paperwork carefully and correctly for the stress and anxiety caused to all involved in this case has been enormous, not least as bigamy is illegal in Brazil. Regardless of whether this was an oversight, an arrest, detention and prosecution could have taken place.

Thankfully Sir James Munby was able to help the couple resolve the situation. Confirming that “the parties were innocent victims of failure by the court itself” (for neither court staff, nor two Judges spotted the error) he was able to say that the couple’s new marriages were entered into “in complete good faith and in reliance upon the Court’s own orders”.

Given that we have recently seen the biggest increase in divorce for fifteen years, it’s all the more important to make sure you do not fall foul of the law. If you are considering divorce or separation from your partner, it is vital you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Speak to Farleys’ family law team who can advise you on your options throughout the process. Call us on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry through our online contact form.