DIVORCE/ JURISDICTION: Olafisoye v Olafisoye [2010] EWHC 3539 (Fam) and [2010] EWHC 3540 (Fam)

03 MAR 2011

(Family Division; Holman J; 19 February 2010 and 28 July 2010)

The parties were married in Nigeria. The husband was neither domiciled nor habitually resident in England, however the wife was born in Scotland of Nigerian parents and settled in England (which had become their domicile of choice). The wife's domicile of origin was therefore England. While she was still a minor her father reverted to his original domicile in Nigeria so wife's domicile of dependence became Nigeria. At issue was the jurisdiction of the English court to entertain divorce proceedings brought by the wife in 2005 and the recognition of a Nigerian judgment purporting to grant a divorce.

The English court had jurisdiction to hear the wife's application. Recognition of the Nigerian divorce would be refused on the basis that the husband had not taken or caused to be taken such steps as should reasonably have been taken to give notice of the Nigerian proceedings to the wife. Although the court should be slow to exercise its discretion under Family Law Act 1986 S51(3)(a), on the facts of this case it was appropriate to do so.

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