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Annulments: How much should a 6 month marriage be worth?

View profile for Philip Hoddell
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Annulments: How much should a 6 month marriage be worth?

That is the question that the High Court is likely to have to answer some time later this year as the case of Tabarra v Kassai ends up in court. 

The divorce has sensationally hit the headlines after Mr Kassai filed for annulment. His wife of just 6 months, Dr Tabarra, countered with an unreasonable behaviour petition claiming that he had been abusive and controlling. 

Annulments are rare and are based on allegations that although married, the marriage has not been consummated. Dr Tabarra claimed that it had been, albeit only once and both parties agreed that whether it had or hadn’t been, their marriage was ‘an unhappy disaster’.  

It was said in court by Mr Kassai’s lawyer that neither he nor Dr Tabarra had a positive word to say about their marriage. 

In the end, Mr Kassai dropped his claim and agreed that his wife could divorce him for his unreasonable behaviour although he completely denied the allegations. This is often used as a convenient way to obtain a divorce without having to wait until a couple has been living apart for at least 2 years. 

However, it is unlikely the story will end there. Dr Tabarra told the court that she had been advised that she had greater financial claims against her husband, allegedly worth millions of pounds, if she could divorce him rather than accept his annulment petition. 

I am quite sure that both parties felt very strongly about their claims – his that there had been no consummation and hers that he was guilty of domestic abuse. Inevitably though, the comments about financial claims will lead to speculation about how much they played a part in the whole case.  

It leads inevitably to this question - in an extremely short marriage between two young professionals who have no children, should there be any financial claims at all? Or should the marriage not just be quietly ended and the couple be able to go their own separate ways? 

If the government brings in no fault divorce this autumn then these arguments may not have arisen. Certainly, there wouldn’t have been allegations of unreasonable behaviour because once the new law comes into force, there wouldn’t be a need for it.  

We are always happy to discuss matters with you and offer a free 15 minute initial telephone call.  If you would like to take advantage of that please contact our expert divorce lawyers. 

I can be contacted on 01206 217320 or philip.hoddell@birkettlong.co.uk.

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