A Saudi Arabian couple may win the record for the world’s shortest marriage after the Groom asked his new Bride for a divorce just two hours after the wedding.

It appears that the breakdown of their whirlwind marriage had been triggered by the Bride sending a photo of their wedding day to her friend via the social media app Snapchat. It transpires that prior to their marriage the couple had signed a pre-nuptial agreement in which the Bride was forbidden from sharing photos of the wedding on social media.

Social media is having an increased effect on marital issues with the majority of people now having some form of presence on social media sites or apps. Family Solicitors have noticed the increase in divorcing couples who link their problems to, or in some way refer to, one social media site or another. Often it is the case that these marital problems are caused by one party forming an online relationship or by the pressure of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ that social media can create. It is safe to say that the reason behind this divorce seems far from the norm!

Divorce in England and Wales- the one year rule

It should be highlighted that the law in England and Wales would have prevented this Groom from divorcing his Bride at such an early stage of their marriage. In England and Wales a married couple is unable to divorce in the first year of their marriage. This is not the case under Saudi Arabian Law in which men have the power to immediately divorce their wives without needing to show any legal grounds.

Ground for Divorce

In England and Wales there is only one legal ground for divorce: the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In order to show that a marriage has broken down irretrievably the petitioner has to establish one of five facts;

  • Adultery;
  • Unreasonable Behaviour;
  • Desertion;
  • Two years’ separation with the consent of the other party; or
  • Five year’s separation (no consent required).

If the Courts of England and Wales had had the jurisdiction over this marriage the Groom (after their first year anniversary) would have had to rely on one of the above facts to satisfy the Court that his marriage had broken down irretrievably.

The most commonly relied on fact in England and Wales is unreasonable behaviour and, generally, the petitioner will give approximately five or six examples of the unreasonable behaviour displayed by their spouse. This Groom would have perhaps struggled to rely on his Bride’s activity on Snapchat alone to satisfy this fact.

There is currently a great call from Family Solicitors in England and Wales for what is referred to as ‘no fault divorce’- i.e. being able to petition for divorce without the need to place blame on the other party or without having to wait to be able to satisfy the two year separation fact. ‘No fault divorce’ would help couples whose marriage has come to an end separate as amicably as possible without needing to place blame on the other party.

However, even if ‘no fault divorce’ is introduced in England and Wales  a divorcing couple would still be required to wait until after their first year anniversary and would still be directed by Court timetables and legal timescale requirements before their divorce can be finalised. Two hour marriages and instantaneous divorces will therefore remain a far cry from the legal position in England and Wales.

If you would like assistance and advice regarding divorce and separation then please contact Alex Carr, a Family Solicitor based in our Halesowen office, on 0121 227 3869 or acarr@thursfields.co.uk.

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