Divorce or the dissolution of a marriage, refers to the final and legal termination of a marital union. A divorce nullifies the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolves the bonds of matrimony between the parties. In instances where children and property are involved, the process of divorce also examines issues such as spousal support, child support and custody, the distribution of property and the division of debt.
Under Jamaican law, parties must be living separate and apart and the marriage broken up for at least a year before either the husband or wife can file for divorce. Once a petition for divorce is signed, it is lodged in court and the court returns a copy which is to be served on the respondent. In an uncontested divorce, the respondent may request that the divorce be granted without a hearing. This of course, is subject to the judge’s discretion. Once issues such as the settlement of property are decided, the court may grant a Decree Nisi, which is the first step in the two-step divorce process. After the decree nisi is granted, parties must wait at least six weeks for a decree absolute to be granted, which will then make the divorce final.
For clients needing support for divorce proceedings, ANA & CO will: