Online divorce, being charged with bigamy and wasting money on a second invalid marriage: why getting legal advice at the outset may be more cost effective than you think!
The Daily Mail has reported that Andrew McLeod-Baikie has been fined £800 for illegally marrying for the second time.
It is reported that he paid £600 for an “online divorce” but the court in Haverfordwest has since determined that this process did not properly dissolve his first marriage and therefore despite his intentions, the second marriage was illegal. This is another instance of bigamy coming to light as a result of Facebook. See Lisa Brown’s blog about bigamy here.
Whilst Mr McLeod-Baikie may have had the best of intentions in filling an online divorce, his situation highlights the importance of getting proper legal advice about the process.
Although the process is usually straight forward in terms of both parties simply having to fill in certain key documents, it is vitally important that these documents are completed properly and within the relevant timescales. Indeed, there is a suggestion in the article from the Daily Mail that Mr McLeod-Baikie’s failure to cooperate with the divorce that his wife started may have also been relevant.
At Maguire Family Law our family law experts can advise you on the legal basis upon which you can start a divorce and provide you with a full guide to the process. We can draft the court papers for you and ensure that appropriate financial claims are made to protect you in the long term. If appropriate, our solicitors can also make a request that the court orders the other party to pay the costs that you have incurred in relation to the divorce, both in terms of our fees and the court fee (currently £550).
Each individual case will have its own individual circumstances but one thing that we would say applies to all divorces is that it is important to get the procedure right. With many couples spending thousands of pounds on their marriage in the first place, it can be costly to try and cut corners when it comes to ending that same marriage.