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To resume old divorce? (4 Posts)
Started By:
29 March, 2017 11:23AM
To resume old divorce?
mackerel006 - 29 March, 2017 11:23AM
I am helping to resolve my mum’s unfinished divorce to my dad, which started some 30 years ago but never finished.

From the documents I got from her, it only went as far as getting a court order for maintenance and child support. My dad moved out of the marital home they bought together (my mother paid off since) and paid some maintenance to my mum initially, but stopped within a year. He disappeared and all communications stopped since.

By searching electoral rolls and such, I know at least he owns a house and know the address. However, I don’t have any other evidence of him living there now. It is also possible that he might be living in overseas, but not certain.

Is it possible to proceed with the divorce while we are not exactly sure where my dad lives?
Re: To resume old divorce?
davidterry - 29 March, 2017 01:40PM
Whether an 'unfinished' divorce can be finished now after a lapse of 30 years will very much depend upon the stage it reached and upon the reason(s) why it was not progressed to a conclusion. If either of the these facts mean that the divorce cannot be progressed then the previous divorce proceedings would need to be dismissed before your mother could issue new proceedings based (presumably) upon 5 or more years' separation. Such a divorce can proceed whether the other spouse can be found or not although a court first has to be satisfied that every reasonable effort has been made to locate the missing spouse.
Re: To resume old divorce?
mackerel006 - 29 March, 2017 02:21PM
Thanks for the reply.

I don’t know the exact details, but it probably was both parties being ignorant and getting on with their own lives.
They got Nisi and the court order but soon after all contact from my dad stopped. My mum didn’t have the ability or resource to pursue it further as she had to get a job, pay the mortgage and look after a toddler (me).

The main problem here is the marital home which my mum and dad own 50:50, although my mum paid it off and has been living there since the separation. The house is very old and becoming closer to inhabitable state every day, yet she can’t do any major work done in case my dad claims half of the house.

If she goes ahead with divorce, would she be able to get the whole house? I imagine we have to have a lawyer and it would be lengthy and costly, especially if my dad does not respond or is not cooperative (very likely). Is that right?
Re: To resume old divorce?
davidterry - 30 March, 2017 02:00PM
If they got decree nisi in the divorce it can now probably be progressed to a conclusion provided that they never reconciled or resumed living together. Also, I suppose, assuming the court still has the file because they do not hold onto these things forever. The court will require an explanation for the delay but in principle it can be done.

As to the house, well, nothing will necessarily change. Nothing changes simply as a result of decree absolute (except to the extent that it enables either to remarry if they want).
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