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| 1 minute read

Online divorce: guarding against fraud

A deceitful husband who obtained a divorce without his wife knowing, has had it set aside after an 8 day hearing.  Despite denying any dishonesty, the judge considered that only the husband benefitted from the divorce, and consequently he was the only one who had a motive to push it through. The husband failed to provide a handwriting sample to compare to the signatures on the divorce papers meaning no finding of forgery was made. However the judge clearly considered that the husband may have forged his wife's signature to achieve his desired outcome.

This begs the question about whether such a scenario would be easier to achieve now that divorces are dealt with online via the court portal. When a petition is issued online, both parties can see the letter giving the respondent log in and access details to the portal. For anyone so minded it would not be difficult to provide a response on behalf of their spouse.  

Cases such as this are thankfully rare but the advent of online processes means that we must be vigilant about the fraudulent opportunities that new technology might create for those without scruples.

The husband will be left to reflect on the personal outcome of this case. No doubt the legal fees were very significant but as he had also re-married following the fraudulently obtained divorce, he and his second 'wife' now find themselves in a bigamous marriage. Bigamy is a crime carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 7 years so the full consequences to him may not yet have revealed themselves.

Divorce that wife did not know about for 12 years is set aside


family law