Pitfalls of a ‘quick divorce’


A recent judgment has highlighted the importance of seeking professional advice when getting a divorce.

In the matter of Re Yorston & Ors [2021] EWF80 Mr Justice Moor handed down Judgment dismissing 28 divorce petitions which were “absolutely identical”. This case illustrates in particular the dangers of engaging the divorce services of unregulated firms.

Facts of the case

Deputy District Judge McHardy who is in charge of the Divorce Unit at Bury. St Edmunds referred 28 divorce petitions to Her Honour Judge Roberts, the leading Judge for divorce. They were then referred to Mr Justice Moor who listed the 28 divorce petitions for a hearing in open court.

Mr Justice Moor was concerned with the particulars of behaviour prepared by the firm idivorces, an unregulated firm, which were identical and therefore could not “all be true in each of the 28 cases”.
All 28 divorce petitions were dismissed resulting in the petitioner’s having to start the divorce process again.

Irretrievable breakdown

The ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage supported by one of the five facts. These are:

  1. Adultery, and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
  2. Unreasonable behaviour.
  3. Desertion for a continuous period of two years.
  4. 2 years separation with consent.
  5. 5 years separation.

Unreasonable behaviour

This case concerned the fact of unreasonable behaviour. This can be proven by a range of particulars of fact which a petitioner wishes to rely on. Mr Justice Moor held on considering the particulars of behaviour that “each case must, of necessity, be different. Different spouses behave in different ways. It is quite impossible for each of 28 respondents to have behaved in exactly the same way as the other 27”.

Improper petitions

The petitions were held to be “improper” and were dismissed, resulting in all of the petitioners having to restart the process.This case highlights the importance of obtaining specialist advice from trained and experienced solicitors before embarking on legal proceedings.

More information

If you are seeking a divorce or need to obtain some general advice, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced, Tier 1 Legal 500 family team. All of the team are members of Resolution and many are Accredited Specialists. We also have collaborative lawyers and members of the Law Society’s Family Panel.

This article was written by Rukhma Sohail, Solicitor. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of November 2021.


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