Duncan Lewis

Family Law

know matters can be both

highly sensitive and confusing

A pensioner was shocked to get a divorce notification which he was not aware of

Date: (21 June 2012)    |    

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Mr Glenford Warner, a retired teacher who lived with his wife under the same roof for more than 30 years got the shock of his life when he received a letter telling him that his wife had divorced him.
He told the London’s Appeal Court that he had not inkling that his wife had split from him especially since she was still staying with him under the same roof.
He admitted that his marriage was not on a smooth turf but he had no idea until he got a letter in January last year from a family court notifying him that a Divorce Decree was granted by a judge in his absence which would become final if there were no objections to it. The decree was made absolute after the limitation period of 90 days.
It emerged that Mrs Shirley Warner, 52, had told Judge Michael Oppenheimer she had decided to annul her marriage because her husband was 'controlling and chauvinistic' towards her. She also told the court that she was living with her husband under the same roof but separate lives.
The judge went on to grant Mrs Warner a Decree Nisi, despite her husband not being present or represented at the hearing. A Decree Absolute was granted 90 days later, on April 20 last year, making Mrs Warner a free woman as per the law.
Mr Warner, a father of four, of Greenford, Middlesex, is now asking the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against the Decree Absolute which 'brought the curtain down' on his marriage.
He told Lord Justice McFarlane that he was not informed about orders until the family court judge had granted the decree in his absence.
Asked how he found out about the order, Mr Warner said that it was sent in the post and he did not waste a day after that. He added that since his appeal against the decree nisi was not registered in the family court the decree was made absolute for no contest.
After receiving the final order notification, Mr Warner explained that he re-filed his appeal and was told that the divorce had already granted.
Warning Mr Warner that he faces a formidable task in overturning the Decree Absolute, Lord Justice McFarlane told him that there was a legal difficulty because if he did not appeal against the Decree Nisi when it was available to him then he could not appeal against the Decree Absolute.
Decree Absolute was the end of a marriage and they could go and go marry again after the Decree. If the wife after the Decree Absolute had gone and married someone and the husband came to the court to overturn it citing the reason that he was not notified it would not have been possible the judge explained. It was a matter of law that she was a free woman.
Mr Warner was told that he would face tough time if he could not prove that he was not served notice of the Decree Nisi.
Lord Justice McFarlane adjourned the hearing for documents to be retrieved from the family court which Mr Warner says would support his case.
The case will now be heard on another date yet to be set.

 

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