In 2015, Adam John Moore, a man in his thirties from Exeter, plead guilty to bigamy. With such a headline, the story soon spread to a number of national newspapers. Unusual, but not unheard of, one may think. However, this was not a case of deliberate deception, but a case of ignorance.
Moore had married Lyndsey Heywood in December 2008, but their short-lived marriage broke down. Upon applying for a divorce, Heywood began to look into Moore’s previous divorce proceedings and discovered, to her dismay, that he was technically still married to his first wife. While decree nisi had been pronounced in his previous divorce proceedings, decree absolute had not.
Decree nisi – nisi being the Latin word for ‘if’ or ‘unless’ – is the notice that states that a marriage may be dissolved. It is provisional, and it provides that after six weeks and a day from the point of its pronouncement, a decree absolute may be applied for unless any further evidence is brought to light to prevent that happening during that period. A marriage is not dissolved until decree absolute is granted.
While Moore’s actions were not malicious as such, they were certainly careless. Not having a sufficient level of knowledge of the divorce process did not save him from being hauled before the local magistrates, or of deceiving both his wives, however inadvertently. Bigamy is a rare event in the UK but it is still punishable by a custodial sentence.
It is a strong reason for getting the best legal advice possible when going through a divorce, so that you can be absolutely sure that everything is being conducted in your best interests; not least getting all your paperwork done correctly.
Vardags Limited is a limited company trading as Vardags, Company No 7199468, registered in England and Wales, having its registered office at 10 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7NG. Vardags is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number 535955). Its VAT number is 99 001 7230.
Vardags uses the term ‘Partner’ as a professional title only, to describe a Senior Solicitor, Employee or Consultant with relevant experience, expertise and qualifications (whether legally qualified or otherwise) to merit the title. Our Partners are not partners in the legal sense. They are not liable for the debts, liabilities or obligations of Vardags Limited. Similarly, the term ’Director’ is a professional title only, to describe a non-legally qualified employee or consultant of Vardags with relevant experience, expertise and qualifications to merit the title. It does not necessarily imply that the relevant individual is a director of Vardags Limited.
A list of the directors of Vardags Limited and a list of the names of those using the title of ’Director’ and ’Partner’ together with their official status is available for inspection at Vardags’ registered office.