“Deeply dishonest” husband criticised by Judge for contesting divorce

The November 2018 case of VW v BH (Contested Divorce Proceedings) [2018] EWFC B68 in which a Respondent husband sought to contest divorce proceedings issued by his wife – even though he had admitted committing adultery throughout their 22 year marriage – was branded “extraordinary” and an “awful case” by the presiding Judge.

Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts presiding stated that the husband had required all of his wife’s witnesses to attend and stated “if I had not intervened, would have questioned each of them for very long periods of time”. The list of witnesses included the parties’ daughter (referred to as “M”) whom the husband went on to cross examine, which the Judge found to be “particularly excruciating”.

HHJ Roberts held that the husband was shown to be “a deeply dishonest man” and stated that she “did not believe him about any of the matters in issue in this case”.

The Judge added that the husband’s case had been “completely futile, a complete waste of money, a tragic destruction of family relationships”. She went on to state “all he had to do was to not contest the divorce, a divorce he wanted, as virtually everybody else in the country does”.

Statistically there are usually only in the region of about 20 contested divorce trials per year in England and Wales, meaning that by its very nature this case was quite unusual; this trial was listed for 3 days.

The wife was granted a decree nisi and the husband was ordered to pay her costs in association with prosecuting her petition and defending his. The Judge further stated that the “unnecessary proceedings” instigated by the husband led to a “huge amount of costs being made much more expensive than they needed to be”.

This decision comes hot on the heels of the work undertaken by Resolution in trying to achieve a “no fault” divorce in our Court system. The unnecessary application, inflated costs and potential damage to familial relationships of this particular case certainly highlights why such no fault divorces are necessary.

About the writer:

Claire North is a qualified Family Solicitor and a member of Resolution. She offers an initial consultation of one hour at a fixed fee of £75 + VAT.

 **From 3 to 21 December 2018 only** Claire is offering 30 minutes of free legal advice (subject to the availability of appointments) pl

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