Dual marriage nullified by the courts

Date: Feb 27, 2015

Entering into a new marriage can create legal issues, especially if one of the parties has only recently had a previous relationship nullified.

Even if two individuals are in the process of separating, they will still be considered legally married, making it an offence to enter into another marriage.

This issue featured in recent proceedings before the Family Court, with a man seeking to have his marriage terminated on the grounds that his divorce from a previous relationship had yet to be finalised.

The man's first marriage began in early 2010, although within nine days his wife had moved out and later left the country. The pair remained in a legally binding marriage until the man sought a divorce order.

Prior to seeking the dissolution of this first marriage, the man entered into a second relationship. The pair decided to marry, and it was this decision that led the man to seek a divorce from his first wife.

In order to get married, the man was granted a divorce order, at which point they arranged for their own marriage to take place, only two days after the order had been granted. This was despite the fact that a divorce order won't come into affect for a month after it is granted by the courts.

The newly married couple separated after almost two years together. At this point, the man also undertook legal proceedings to have the marriage certificate from his second relationship nullified, on the grounds that he had still been married at the time.

Given the circumstances, the judge agreed - ruling that the man was still in a legally binding relationship which rendered his second marriage null and void.

Although this was a unique case, and certainly not a set of conditions that many people would experience, it does illustrate the issues that can arise around the dissolution of a relationship. In this case, a lack of understanding around the timeline for the divorce process left the man married to two women at the same time.

If you would like to know more about the legal processes involved in getting a divorce, or getting remarried in the future, make sure you talk to a family lawyer