The Court grants a divorce to the husband, when it is clear that the wife remarried. This was held in AZ v Dr Mattia Felice et noe on 26 June 2023.
The judgement was delivered by the Civil Court, Family Section presided by Mr Justice Anthony Vella.
The Plaintiff filed a sworn application wherein he explained that he married his wife in 1977 and they had a daughter in 1978. The Defendant, the wife left for the UK in 1984, for a temporary period, but it later became permanent. The Plaintiff held that she therefore, abandoned the matrimonial home. He also claimed that his wife had a string of affairs. He asked the court to grant a divorce.
The Defendant was represented by court appointed curators, who declared that they did not manage to contact her.
The Court analysed the evidence brought before it. The Plaintiff explained that when they got married he was working with a company which was building the Freeport. He was not allowed to work overtime and depended on his salary. He and his family found it hard to make ends meet. They both took the decision that she returns to the UK with their daughter and works there. This took place in 1984. In the beginning, they exchanged letters regularly but after some time the letters died down and reduced to cards sent to their daughter.
He then received a call from the Defendant’s lawyer seeking separation because she did not want to return to Malta. At the time their daughter was 19. He managed to see her and lived with her for three weeks. His daughter had come to Malta only twice to see him. When she was in the UK, she did not keep any contact with him.
Recently he discovered from Facebook that the Defendant had remarried in 2001 and had a new surname. He held that he never signed any separation or divorce documents.
He also told the Court that he purchased a property in Qormi and took out a loan. He purchased the furniture and had inherited some pieces of furniture. He further explained that he has a bank account where his pension is deposited.
The Plaintiff is seeking a divorce in terms of Article 66 of the Civil Court, since he has been separated for more than five years. In fact, his wife left Malta in 1984. She had remarried in 2001 and it is evident that she obtained a divorce without the Plaintiff signing any documents.
The Court concluded that it was evident that the Defendant was not going to return to Malta, as she asked a lawyer to contact the Plaintiff to prepare a separation. Therefore, the Court did not find that there is any prospect of reconciliation between the Parties. There is no issue on maintenance for the daughter, because today she is in her 40s.
The Court also concluded that the Defendant did abandon the matrimonial home, once she decided not to return to Malta and lost all contact with the Plaintiff. As to adultery, the Court held it is difficult to establish whether she had a relationship with other men before or after the divorce.
The Court moved to uphold the Plaintiff’s request for a divorce and liquidated the community of assets.
Av. Malcolm Mifsud
Mifsud and Mifsud Advocates
This article may also be accessed on Malta Today.
For more information you can contact one of our Team Members at Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates.