Couple who divorced after 20 years remarry just six weeks later
01st January 2010
When the final papers came through ending their marriage, Lee and Jan Jones both felt they needed a shoulder to cry on. So they turned to the people they knew best - each other.
Within hours of arranging to meet and discuss the divorce, they decided it had been a terrible mistake.
And on Christmas Eve, six weeks after the decree absolute, the couple remarried with their ten children acting as bridesmaids and page boys.
'We are together for ever now,' said 44-year-old Mrs Jones at the family home in Southend-on-Sea. 'We have put the past behind us and are looking forward to the future. We are in it for good.'
Her 41-year-old husband added: 'It's the best decision we ever made.'
The couple were first married in July 1990 at the United Reform Church in Southend. 'It was a traditional church wedding with all our friends and family,' said Mrs Jones.
She already had a son, James, now 23, from a previous marriage, and the couple had their first child together, Lee, in January 1991.
After that came Paul, 17, Stephen, 13, Hannah, nine, Amy, seven, Ella, five, Emily, three, George, two and Callum, one.
But the marriage came under pressure and the couple separated in January 2009.
Mr Jones said: 'We had money problems, me working, Jan doing all the work at home, and relying on friends to take the children to school. We tried to make it work but we couldn't. We thought we would get divorced and see what happened. I moved out and got a room.'
Mr Jones, a civil engineer who lost his job with Thames Water in June, added: 'I'm used to the children and Jan being around me. Being on my own was like something missing out of my life.
'We were texting each other and ringing and I was coming round all the time. It was the worst time of my life.'
The couple pressed ahead with the divorce but it was only when the decree absolute came through on November 10 that the reality of what they were doing hit them both.
Mrs Jones said: 'I opened up the letter and thought, "This is a bit final". I texted Lee and said, "Have you got it?" He replied, "Yes, how do you feel?" and we both admitted we were gutted.
'We got together later that day, both clutching our set of papers, and we started saying, "Are we making a mistake?"
'We were sitting at the kitchen table together and I said, "But I still love you" and he said, "I still love you - why are we doing it?" We decided to give it another go.'
Mr Jones added: 'We thought it would be romantic to get married on Christmas Eve but never thought we would be able to.
'I rang Southend Register Office and they said they had an opening at 11am that day and we decided to go for it.'
The bride picked up her strapless pink wedding dress and butterscotch-coloured attendants' gowns from a local shop and the ceremony was held in front of 25 guests - including their children.
The couple's son, Lee, 18, said the younger children had missed their father and the older ones had done their best to support their parents during the split.
'I am really pleased they are back together. I was shocked when they split up in the first place - and when they got back together because they hadn't been apart that long.
'It was really nice to be able to go to their wedding this time around.'