A Ukrainian woman has been told her divorce from her British husband will not be recognised in the UK.
In Ivleva v Yates, the couple met in 1999 on a dating website and married in England in October of 2000.
They stayed in England for the duration of their marriage except for occasional trips to Ukraine.
Then in 2012, the 49 year old woman moved out of the family home.
Claiming frustration with the delays in proceedings in the English court, the wife filed for divorce back in Ukraine.
The High Court heard that the wife claimed she could not contact her husband while petitioning for divorce in Ukraine.
As a result, the notification was carried out by ‘public notice’. The latter is an announcement that certain legal proceedings are due to take place.
This particular public notice took the form of a small classified advertisement on page 15 of a small local newspaper written in Ukrainian, a language the husband does not understand.
Due to the husband not participating in the Ukrainian proceedings, the wife was granted a divorce.
Mr Justice Jackson deemed the wife did not take reasonable steps to notify the husband, noting that there were a number of other ways she could have contacted him including email, text, via his friends, his place of work, his solicitor or the court.
The judge concluded:
“[I]t would have cost [the wife] nothing in time or money to have given the husband information about the Ukrainian proceedings at a time when it might have been of use to him. Instead, she trailed her coat by giving information that she intended to start Ukrainian proceedings, but only provided information after it was realistically too late for the husband to do anything about it.”
“Had the Ukrainian courts known what this court knows, I respectfully doubt whether it would have authorised service by advertisement as its first option, particularly as the husband had no chance whatever of coming across the advertisement.”
Mr Justice Jackson pointed out that his conclusion was in line with previous decisions made by the High Court in cases like this, specifically citing Macalpine v Macalpine , when the judge refused to recognise an American divorce obtained by a man without notifying his wife.
In England and Wales, where a Respondent to a divorce can’t be found, there is a procedure that permits a court to dispense with service of a divorce petition on the Respondent provided the court is satisfied that every effort has been made to find and serve the divorce petition upon him or her. Ive had quite a few people contact me about this. More information can be found here.