Tuesday 21 May 2019

Woman's bid to have marriage annulled fails after campaign of 'vengeance'

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Tim Healy

A woman maintained a "vengeful and vitriolic" campaign against her estranged husband, a judge said as she refused a decree of nullity for their 13-year marriage.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds said the woman had provided "no sustainable evidence" to support her claim the man had subjected her to such duress that the marriage happened without her consent.

The judge said the reality was the woman was independent and working abroad when she met the man, they lived together abroad before getting engaged, and later returned here to marry in a wedding attending by friends and family, the judge said.

There was "simply no evidence" to support the woman's additional claim the man lacked capacity to enter into and sustain a caring and considerate marital relationship, she further found.

"It is an unfortunate reality of life that marriages break down, hence the necessity for divorce legislation," she said.

The judge described as "utterly reprehensible" and "wholly unsubstantiated" claims by the woman in respect of the man's sexual orientation as being either homosexual or bisexual.

Various allegations pursued by the woman against him with the HSE, the Garda Ombudsman and other State bodies were "malicious and vindictive" and had proved to be unfounded, she also said.

Those allegations included child neglect and more serious matters, she further noted.

The woman has maintained a sustained "vengeful and vitriolic" campaign against her estranged husband since she lost custody of their dependent children and her actions in that regard "are regrettable to say the least", the judge said.

Her motivation in pursuing these nullity proceedings was fuelled by her religious beliefs. She understood if she got a decree of nullity, that would help in seeking a Church annulment, the judge said.

The judge noted a psychiatrist had reported the woman is a practising Catholic keen to seek a Church annulment and is unhappy that, against her wishes, her estranged husband does not take the children to Mass.

For all the reasons outlined, the judge dismissed the woman's application.

Outlining the background earlier, the judge noted the man and woman are both Irish, met abroad, but married here and have two children.

Their marriage broke down after 13 years, they began to live apart and the woman left the family home with the children. They got a decree of judicial separation from the Circuit Court in 2011 which provided the children would reside primarily with the man, both parents would have joint custody and the woman would have access. Two years later, the woman initiated the nullity proceedings.

The man has separately issued divorce proceedings which were stayed pending the outcome of the nullity claim.

Irish Independent

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