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10 OCT 2006

FINANCIAL PROVISION: E v E (Premature Remarriage)

(Family Division; Singer J; 10 October 2006)

The couple had been granted a divorce on the wife's petition, which had included a claim for all forms of ancillary relief. In fact the principal financial asset was the matrimonial home, eventually sold for £1.25m, which was held in the wife's sole name. The wife did not issue a Form A, instead entering into negotiations with the husband. An agreement was reached and signed under which the husband was to receive £250,000; the husband was then asked by the wife's solicitors to supply a Form A for dismissal purposes. The husband's Form A was dated 12 August, which, it later emerged, was also the date of his remarriage. The husband sought to have the agreement made into an order; the wife objected on a number of different grounds.

The earliest day on which the husband's Form A could have been lodged with the court would have been after his remarriage, and under s 28(3) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, following remarriage the court did not have jurisdiction to make any sort of order for a lump sum, even pursuant to a negotiated agreement between the parties. The court had never been seised, and the court's jurisdiction had been invoked only after remarriage, by which time it was beyond the court's power to deal with the application. The husband might have a remedy in some other forum.

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