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Wright & Wright [2012] FamCA 216

Categories: Annulment, Marriage, Nullity
Tags: , , ,

the story
The parties were married by way of a ceremony that took place at the registry office in London in January 2004.

Subsequently the parties entered into a second ceremony of marriage in New South Wales at Town A in August 2004.

On 2 June 2011, the parties jointly made an application to the Federal Magistrates Court for dissolution of both the marriages.

On 3 August 2011 a registrar made a divorce order in respect of the marriage solemnised in London in April 2004.  The registrar was unable to make any orders in respect of the Australian marriage and concluded that you can only be divorced once and also concluded that the registrar had no power to make a declaration of invalidity in respect of the second ceremony.


legal arguments
The parties had married in London in January 2004, before subsequently marrying in New South Wales, asserting they had never been married before.

The parties were granted a divorce order in the Federal Magistrates Court in respect of the marriage ceremony that was solemnised in London. Given that the parties were legally married when they involved themselves in the Australian ceremony, the Court was satisfied that that ceremony had no legal effect and a declaration of nullity was granted.

Where a person is already married, and enters a second purported marriage without the first marriage having been dissolved (by divorce or death of a party, for instance), the second marriage will be void.


the outcome
That part of the definition of matrimonial cause refers to proceedings for a declaration as to the validity of a marriage. Given that the parties were legally married at the time that they involved themselves in the ceremony at Town A in August 2004, I am satisfied that that ceremony had no effect and any marriage that was purported to have taken place on that day was invalid.




Judge Name: Watts J
Hearing Date:
Decision Date:26/03/2012
Applicant: Mr Wright
Respondent: Ms Wright
Solicitor for the Applicant: In Person
Solicitor for the Respondent: In person
File Number: BRC 4694 of 2011
Legislation Cited: Family Law Act (Cth)
Jurisdiction: Family Court of Australia
Parental Responsibility Outcome: Not Relevant
Residential Outcome: Not Relevant


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This matter comes before me as a result of the husband’s application to annul his marriage to the wife, which was performed at Town A.  The marriage was performed at Town A, New South Wales in August 2004.Both parties appear before me today and have jointly made an oral application for a declaration of invalidity in respect of that marriage pursuant to s 113 of the Family Law Act.The background of the matter is as follows:

The parties were married by way of a ceremony that took place at the registry office in London in January 2004.  There is before me a certified copy of their marriage certificate.

Subsequently the parties entered into a second ceremony of marriage in New South Wales at Town A in August 2004.  I have a marriage certificate that was created as a result of that event.  The marriage certificate indicates on it that the parties asserted, at that time, that they had never validly been married.  That is an assertion that neither of them before me contend is accurate.

On 2 June 2011, the parties jointly made an application to the Federal Magistrates Court for dissolution of both the marriages.

On 3 August 2011 a registrar made a divorce order in respect of the marriage solemnised in London in April 2004.  The registrar was unable to make any orders in respect of the Australian marriage and concluded that you can only be divorced once and also concluded that the registrar had no power to make a declaration of invalidity in respect of the second ceremony.

I am comfortably satisfied that it is appropriate to exercise the discretion that I have under s 113 of the Family Law Act.  That section is, in the following terms:-

In proceedings of the kind referred to in paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1), the Court may make such declaration as is justified.

That part of the definition of matrimonial cause refers to proceedings for a declaration as to the validity of a marriage.  Given that the parties were legally married at the time that they involved themselves in the ceremony at Town A in August 2004, I am satisfied that that ceremony had no effect and any marriage that was purported tlegally marriedo have taken place on that day was invalid.

Accordingly, I make a declaration that the marriage entered into in August 2004 at Town A, New South Wales, was invalid.

I certify that the preceding ten (10) paragraphs are a true copy of the ex tempore reasons for judgment of the Honourable Justice Watts delivered on 26 March 2012.

 

Associate:

 

Date:  2.4.2012


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