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Jurisdiction issues regarding divorce? Seek legal advice sooner rather than later!

Earlier this month a judge said he could not nullify the marriage of a teenage mother, despite the fact she claimed she was forced, at gunpoint, to marry a 24 year old man when she was just 14 years old.

Despite the fact that her marriage could not be recognised under English Law, the judge said his hands were tied and he had no power to grant a declaration that her marriage was ‘at its inception, void’.

The case brings up some interesting points when looking at wider issues of family law, such as jurisdiction issues when it comes to divorce.

If for example, a couple married here in England, but subsequently went on to live in a different country, it could be that either Country could have jurisdiction over the divorce. However once one Court becomes involved, the law is such that the Courts of the other Country cannot.

With different countries having different approaches when it comes to financial settlements and the division of marital assets (with some favouring the wife more than others for example) the result could be a race as to who can petition for divorce first.

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