A Maltese father claiming to have succumbed to the pressure of a woman who insisted on marrying him when she was actually still married to another man has had his marriage annulled.
The man was in his mid-fifties when he first met the Filipino woman, 30 years his junior, on social media.
A virtual relationship developed as the two chatted on Messenger and the following year, he offered to pay her airfare so that she might travel to Malta.
She accepted his offer and eventually spent time on the island before being targeted by a repatriation order when caught working locally without the necessary permit.
Communication between the two persisted but, although the woman obtained a certificate to prove that she was single and although her passport also said so, the man, nonetheless, was not convinced about marriage.
Some time later, while the man was on a holiday trip to Thailand with a male friend, the woman joined him for a week.
It was only then that he ultimately gave in to her pressure and agreed to marry in Bangkok, later claiming that he had given in to her insistence simply because of his vulnerability at the time.
He was mourning the loss of a family member, he explained.
He returned to Malta the day after the couple exchanged their vows and registered the marriage in Malta.
His wife moved to Malta three months later and within nine months gave birth to a child whom, she claimed, had not been fathered by her Maltese husband.
Determined to get to the truth, the man resorted to DNA tests which soon revealed that he was indeed the child’s biological father.
However, his wife’s lie sparked suspicion about her intentions in the first place.
Four years ago, after acquiring Maltese citizenship, the woman appeared to turn her back on marriage.
She moved out of the couple’s bedroom, took up a full-time job working morning till night, no longer cooked her husband’s meals and practically abandoned her family, leaving it up to her husband to take care of their child.
Meanwhile, he funded her visits to her homeland, some seven times a year.
An anonymous email in the man’s inbox, claiming that his wife had been married to a foreign national when she exchanged marriage vows with the applicant, prompted him to seek confirmation.
He engaged the services of a foreign law firm, obtaining the necessary proof.
He filed for annulment, explaining that he had sensed that she was not honest and had been playing a game, but he had given in to her insistence at a “vulnerable moment”.
On the basis of all evidence, not rebutted by the respondent, the Judge presiding over the Family Court declared the annulment of the marriage.
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