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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 13937
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I'm in a fight for the first court seised to be established

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Hi, I'm in a fight for the first court seised to be established in a divorce case. My ex wifes solicitor misrepresented the facts to my court by implying the divorce had already begun in another court. Is this fraud?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: Yes my uk divorce petition was issued oon the 5th Sep and served straight away
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The Irish solicitor wrote to the UK court telling them that my petition was invalid and also said the same to me in private. I am a lay litigant for the moment
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thats fine Idon't mind waiting. The proceedings my Irish soliciotr has tried to commence relate to child maintenance and the way to stay this in Ireland is to state that a similar cause of action (or perhaps related matter) has already begun in another jurisdiction. A UK divorce includes child arrangement matters including maintenance and I supplied the child arrangement forms with my petition. To my mind the UK divorce encompases the action that the Irish solicitor is tyring to bring before the second court, She wrote to me privately telling me that my divorce was invalid and is trying to trick me into attending her case and thereby switching jurisdication by my acceptance of turning up. It's a little underhand but I would like some feedback to make sure I'm on the right train of thought. Many thanks. Dave

Hello, and thank you for your question. I am your Expert and I will provide the answer you require.

1. Dear Dave, the first thing you need to realise is that divorce proceedings are not the same as child maintenance proceedings and there are different rules applying here. So, the fact you have initiated divorce proceedings in the UK won't prevent an Irish court making an order for child maintenance against you in Ireland, particularly if you don't turn up. Child maintenance is not part of normal divorce proceedings, although on occasions it is. So, my advice to you is to turn up and defend the child maintenance proceedings in Ireland or else you will have the UK Child Support Agency after you for the money you owe in child maintenance under the Irish proceedings for child maintenance.

2. You also need to realise that the solicitor for your wife is perfectly correct in writing to the English court and stating that child maintenance proceedings are elsewhere. Additionally, this solicitor is allowed to put the best argument forward for her client. So, there is nothing untoward (and certainly not fraud) in her challenging the jurisdiction of the English courts to grant a divorce. You will simply have to turn up at the divorce proceedings and put your argument that the divorce should properly take place in England. This will depend on where you are ordinarily resident for this is the test for getting a valid divorce in any state in the EU.

3. I would also advise you to get yourself some legal representation as issues surrounding jurisdiction are quite technical. Additionally, you need to realise that judges in both Ireland and England manifest a latent hostility (sometimes patent hostility) to lay litigants as they are ex lawyers themselves and prefer dealing with lawyers in court. Additionally, I would also suggest you would get a more objective view of how things stand if you got some independent legal advice as currently, your approach to the issues is not correct. You run the risk of getting outmanouvered in court by your wife's solicitor.

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Buachaill, Barrister
Satisfied Customers: 13937
Experience: Barrister 17 years experience
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, Thanks for the advice. The letter my solicitor wrote about my divorce being invalid is slightly different. She wrote to the court and said that "this matter had already been before a court in another jurisdiction, with further proceedings pending" when in fact it hadn't and nothing was pending in an Irish court. She started the child maintenance summons after my divorce was issued and the only time I had been in court was for a safety order that was struck out and concluded the moment the testimony was given. At face value this would appear that she is trying to stop my divorce going ahead by misleading the court. If child maintenance is a different matter I presume it can't stop my divorce regardless of when those proceedings began. I meet the residency and domicled rules ok as I live in Northern Ireland. So to be clear child maintenance proceedings are regarded as a different casue of action to a divorce even though they are often dealt with at the same time. Many thanks Dave

5. If the solicitor said that the matter had been in another court, then it is playing with words about the true situation. However, I would advise you to still defend child maintenance proceedings in an Irish court as strictly speaking divorce is a different matter to issues of child support.