h2g2 Post 03.05.01

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Posted: 3rd May 2001


Edition 61 and we are still here!

Can someone get me a lawyer? Failing that, does anyone know the vaguaries of the English Judicial system?

I have been separated for eleven years now. Not, admittedly, with one of those new-fangled agreements, but with a document drawn up by a solicitor clearly apportioning livestock, chattels, or whatever else you care to name.

Having now made a new life for myself and moved to Holland, I thought that it would be a simple matter to finally make the break more permanent (and legal) by suing for divorce. I consulted many documents and assertained that, provided at least ONE of the partners was permanently resident in England, then mitigation through the English system was advisable. Duly armed with this information I decided to instigate the preceedings. All seemed to be going well. My youngest daughter was nearing 18... by the time all the court paperwork was processed she would be over that age limit, out of further education, and no longer part of the equation. (This, of course, sounds harsh, but is still accepted as the law!) So... plain sailing then!

Wrong! I should have heard warning bells when the presiding judge refused to accept my affidavit on the grounds that the Dutch lawyer had signed 'below' the dotted line and not on it! Frustrated by a very confusing and non-helpful telephone conversation with the Court Office concerned, the best option seemed to be to travel back to the UK and deal with it there, albeit at some expense.

The lady there was helpful and apologetic. She could see no real problem, but encouraged me to re-swear the affidavit and apply for the nisi decree.

Imagine my surprise, then, this afternoon, to receive a letter from the court denying me the decree. The grounds? Firstly... why was I applying to that court when I lived in Holland and secondly... I appear to have three children! I don't think that my 27 and 23 year old daughters, who are happily ensconced in their own lives scattered around the UK would be particularly pleased to hear themselves called 'children'! Worse then that 'difficulty', however, is the blatant disregard for EEC law by the judge. England may not be part of the EC monetary fund, but it most certainly part of Europe. All the criteria laid down by the judicial system have been met... it is an uncontested case, both parties still remaining friends and the English resident signing the papers in assent.

It looks as if I will have to start the proceedings all over again unless I can convince this particular judge, whom I can only think of as an out-of-touch and very sad person, that ALL the requirements in law have been met!

If The Post was a little late tonight, I apologise. I have spent most of my time tracking down obscure, and not so obscure, laws and frankly cannot see what the problem is! If any Post readers can enlighten me, I would be extremely grateful! It looks as if my impending future life will have to postponed until a solution is found!

Please... do now go on and read this week's Post... there are plenty of fun articles for you to enjoy.

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