Court recognizes a marriage cancellation decree in Australia

June 13, (Daily Mirror) -  In another landmark judgement, the Colombo District Court has recently recognized the validity of a marriage annulment decree issued by the Melbourne Federal Court in Australia for a marriage contracted in Sri Lanka.

Colombo Additional District Court Judge Chandima Edirimanna issued a decree of dissolution of marriage for a couple who have acquired Australian citizenship, following an application made by the plaintiff's lawyer.

The Additional District Court Judge observed that the court is issuing this order after considering the guidelines provided by a recent Court of Appeal judgement in a writ application, which recognizes and enforces the decree of divorce issued by a competent court in another country.

Counsel Chamara Wannisekara with Dhanushka Madubhashini instructed by Dineth Kaushalya Baduwalage appeared for the plaintiff.

The Court of Appeal in its recent judgement (CA/WRIT/266/2021) held that a District Court in Sri Lanka is not restricted from accepting a valid document proving the dissolution of a marriage issued by a competent court in another country. However, the Court of Appeal held that this acceptance must be subject to the guidelines spelled out by the court and the provisions of the law relating to evidence.

The first guideline is to ascertain whether the law of such a country has conferred the jurisdiction to the respective court to dissolve marriages entered into in a foreign territory. Secondly, it is essential that both parties who entered into the contract of marriage in Sri Lanka have been residing in the respective country, for a reasonable period of time when applying for a divorce. Thirdly, both the husband and wife should actively participate in such divorce proceedings in a foreign court while being subjected to the procedure adopted in such a court concerning matrimonial actions.

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