26-year marriage of convenience is ‘null’

Family Law|December 3rd 2016

The Family Court of Malta has declared that a couple’s 26-year marriage is “null”.

Despite the amount of time they were together, the couple were not motivated by love but by convenience, the Court heard.

The wife’s first husband and her father had died within five months of each other and her mother had pressured her to remarry quickly. Additionally, she was unemployed with only a widow’s pension as income. She claimed that when she had started dating her next husband she hoped the relationship would ease her financial worries.

Likewise, her second husband had had other reasons behind his willingness to get married. He told the Court he was desperate to move out of his mother’s house. Prior to his wedding, the man’s mother demanded he give her the majority of the money he earned in order to provide for his 14 siblings.

The couple married mere months after they first met.

In Malta the Marriage Act 1975 states that a marriage can be declared null if at least one party’s consent has been invalidated “by a serious defect of discretion of judgment on the matrimonial life” in the eyes of the courts. This means that if people do not fully understand what it takes to be in a successful marriage, their consent can be disregarded.

Madame Justice Abigail Lofaro heard the case. She said this provision applied to this couple, as it was not enough to “be endowed with the capacity to give … consent, but the consent must freely be given, in full knowledge of what the marital bond requires”. She said that she had no doubt this couple’s marriage was one of convenience. Both were motivated by factors that had nothing to do with each other. They both knew they were rushing things yet they went through with their wedding anyway.

With those circumstances in mind, the judge ruled that the marriage should be annulled.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Harry says:

    Wow, I wish OUR laws incorporated that sensible provision from Malta….

    Because I’m quite sure my ex was “not motivated by love — but by convenience.” Hers, not mine. Only, of course she did not make that known for about 18 months. Then she divorced me, so she could get her hands on my money, just as she had planned.

    Till now, under the good ole English system of “justice”, there is no provision for a simple annulment of the “marriage” in these circumstances.

    This is obviously a massive oversight by the legislators, which needs to be corrected immediately.

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