My STBX has lied under oath in his sworn [url=Glossary/General/Affidavit.html ]affidavit[/url] for Ancillary Relief. As most people would be inclined to cry \"Perjury!\" in response to this, I thought it would be worth reporting on what I found out about the court's view of this after having done some background research and sought clarification with my solicitor.
In brief, the number one concern of the court is whether the lie *matters*. That is, does the lie threaten to distort or invalidate the legal process or issue that the court has to decide upon? In other words, does it make a *material* difference? If not, then the lie is simply disregarded and crying \"Foul!\" is a waste of time and energy.
This makes it look like you can lie with impunity in court proceedings despite laws on perjury, fraud and the like. And in many respects this is true--the court remains aloof in matters of \"personal morality\" (as though lying was one kind of individual peccadillo).
Thankfully it is not as straightforward as that. For if the lie is identified (and proven to the court's satisfaction) it will be noted by all the parties and effectively and quietly \"filed\" under the heading of credibility for future use. Thus, if an issue arises in which the credibility of the person is important in deciding the outcome, *then* the accumulated file of documented lies comes out to challenge his/her credibility. And assuming the other party has a greater score of credibility, then it is at that point that lies come back to bite the liar--when it matters most.
That, at least, is what I have concluded from my researches and enquiries. And though it may be disheartening to find that laws on perjury, fraud and the like are rarely applied (and often toothless), I nevertheless think it is important not to allow this to discourage you from outing (and proving!) any lies you encounter from the other side. Because it may well be crucial further down the road when issues of credibility enter the equation--as they so often do in matters of divorce.
If there are any other Wikivorcers out there with different experiences or understandings, I'd very much appreciate to hear from them and to have my analysis corrected.
I don't have a different view and I think you have explained the situation pretty much exactly.
I wanted to add in my own case the judge was happy to lie in their summing up as to what had and hadn't been said in order to favour one party in a potential subsequent case. Not sure this is called perjury but luckily if this does happen to you, you can request at your own cost a transcript of the proceedings which are all recorded but you have to do so fairly shortly after the hearing.