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What is the law on divorce?

(5 Posts)
AnotherOddSock Fri 13-May-16 10:06:06

This is not me wanting to be divorced, it's for a family member. Here's some background...

My brother got married 9 years ago because his girlfriend was pregnant and he wanted them to be a perfect family. When their son was about 3 years old they split up. They were off and on for about a year before finally splitting for good after she was violent to him causing a head injury. My DB finally managed to get full legal custody of their son when he was 6 because she was an unfit mother (little boy was under nourished, verbally abused, house was filthy, hardly any clothes or bedding in the house. There were also drugs and alcohol in the house). This is what I know of, there may have been more issues. So they had been technically married for 6 years when he gained custody. That was the last time he saw her, 2 and half years ago roughly.

Anyway my DB has never bothered to get a divorce. He is under the impression that if they are estranged for 7 years they are automatically divorced but I don't think so. I thought that you have to be so estranged that you don't know whether the other person is dead or alive. He doesn't know exactly where she lives now, but he knows roughly which area she's in.

I would just like to know if what my DB believes is true or not. We, his family, wish he'd just get a divorce properly, he's just been too lazy to sort it out. His steady girlfriend is probably completely unaware that he's still technically married.

BaronessEllaSaturday Fri 13-May-16 10:11:58

No you do need to go through the divorce process he is thinking of the situation where someone is missing presumed dead where after 7 years a death certificate will be issued. In his case he needs a divorce but since they have been separated for over 5 years it doesn't need his wife's consent. Get him to speak to a lawyer to get the ball rolling.

dimots Fri 13-May-16 10:18:52

He's not technically married, he is married. If he walked under a bus tomorrow his wife could inherit. She could plan the funeral as next of kin and exclude family members. She could make a claim on any assets he has accumulated since they married. He needs to get this sorted.

AnotherOddSock Fri 13-May-16 10:40:55

Dimots yes exactly, she has a claim on anything he has. What would happen to my nephew if anything happened to him? My brother doesn't have a will, but neither does he have any real assets (he's currently living with our parents, so doesn't own a property). However, our parents have taken steps to prevent her from claiming any of his inheritance...by leaving everything to me in their will. They said he has had so much from them over the years that they want their house to go to me, and I am to make sure my nephew gets £10,000, which I will. I've always been the trust worthy, reliable, sensible one. My brother has always been a cause of worry to them. Now he lives in a situation where he has all his meals cooked and baby sitters on tap.

MrsBertBibby Sat 14-May-16 07:34:44

Assuming that by "full lgal custody" you mean that he has an order that the child live with him, he can appoint a guardian in his will, who would have parental responsibility should he die.

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