Bigamy on Facebook and the Importance of Decree Absolute
Andrew McLeod-Baikie was recently fined £400 at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to bigamy. Mr McLeod-Baikie was reported to the police by his first wife after she saw pictures of her husband’s wedding photos on his Facebook page.
Mr McLeod-Baikie argued that he had obtained an online divorce and thought that all of the paperwork had been finalised. Mr McLeod-Baikie even said that he had presented his paper work to the vicar on the day of his second wedding.
In reality, Mr McLeod-Baikie had not received Decree Absolute, the final stage of divorce proceedings officially bringing the marriage to an end.
During the course of divorce proceedings, the court will make two decrees, Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute. Decree Nisi is the first stage in which the court determines that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the parties are entitled to a divorce. However, at this stage the parties are still married to each other. After six weeks and one day following Decree Nisi, the petitioner can then apply for Decree Absolute. It is only once Decree Absolute has been pronounced that the marriage is officially at an end. After this time the parties can then marry again and upload their wedding photos to social media.
It is important to note that only the petitioner can dictate the timings of the divorce proceedings. It is not uncommon for some petitioners to hold off on applying for Decree Absolute. Sometimes months, if not years can pass by. Therefore, even if you have you do not have a second wedding planned in the upcoming months, if divorce proceedings are imminent it is generally advisable to be the petitioner so that you can dictate the timescales of your divorce.