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Online divorce: the dangers of a DIY split

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A recent high-profile case has highlighted the importance of obtaining expert legal advice when going through a divorce.

Andrew Mcleod-Baikie of Pembrokeshire was fined and found guilty of bigamy after his wife saw pictures of him marrying another woman on Facebook.

Having paid £600 for a DIY divorce online, Andrew believed he had successfully dissolved his marriage with his first wife and was free to marry his new partner.

A large function was planned and the couple were married in August 2014, but after Mcleod-Baikie’s first wife saw pictures of the newlyweds online, it became apparent that he was not free to enter into the new partnership.

While Mr Mcleod-Baikie believed he had received documentation confirming the dissolution of his first marriage, despite receiving a decree nisi, the decree absolute was never granted, meaning he was still legally married to his first wife.

In court Mr McLeod-Baikie’s legal representative acknowledged that more attention should have been paid to the paperwork and that there had been a misunderstanding. There was no defence and Mr McLeod-Baikie pleaded guilty to the offence. Magistrates fined him £400.00 and ordered him to pay £400.00 in costs.

Mr McLeod-Baikie will now have to marry his second wife again to ensure that their union is legally binding.

While Mr McLeod-Baikie may have had good intentions, his case illustrates the dangers of using an online divorce service where consultation and advice from a family solicitor is not included. When issuing divorce proceedings it’s vital to seek the advice of a specialist family law solicitor to ensure the legal process is followed correctly.

For advice on any family law matter, contact Janine Hutson on 01772 258321.


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