Divorce, by the explanation, is the legal termination of a marital union. The process can be a straightforward one or a long, uncomfortable one. The length and processing depend on several factors, including the arrangements the couple can come up with beforehand and whether both parties agree to get a divorce.
If you are looking to file for a divorce in Jamaica, several criteria need to be met to evaluate who can file for a divorce in Jamaica:
- The person would need to be a national of Jamaica.
- Jamaica is where you are domiciled when the processing begins.
- You should be residing in Jamaica for at least 12 months before the start date of your divorce processing.
Once these requirements are met, this means you are eligible to file for a divorce in Jamaica.
- To file for a divorce in Jamaica, you and your spouse must be separated for at least 12 months before your filing date. This can be done even if you are still residing under the same roof, as long as there are no sexual encounters and you are sleeping in separate beds.
- Divorce is taken under extreme scrutiny when the marriage is less than two years old and if there are children involved.
- You will find the process much simpler if there is no procession and property to resolve, no children, and no disputes.
The divorce process in Jamaica can be broken down into four main steps:
- Filing the Petition
- Service of the Petition
- The Decree Nisi application
- The Decree Absolute Application
Step 1: Filing the petition.
At this stage, points are presented regarding the history, state of the marriage, and the reason for divorce. Once the petition is drafted, the Supreme Court registrar will review the case and be certified as it is a real copy and adds the court’s seal to it. Once this is done, the certified ‘true copy’ of the petition is sent to your attorney. Your attorney can then make arrangements for this petition to be served on your spouse.
Step 2: Service of the Petition
At this stage, the petition is served on your spouse. A process server searches the document on your instructions. Your spouse is then granted 14 days after being served to file an acknowledgment of service. You’re supposed to add this stage, choose to contest the divorce or not to. If your spouse actively seeks to challenge the divorce date is set for hearing, add this hearing the facts are stated and proven. A statement must be made that neither of you has the intention to cohabitate after the fact. Fourteen days have passed, and your spouse has not failed to contest the divorce, then the next step would be applying for the decree nisi.
Step 3: The Decree Nisi application
The Decree Nisi is the first order of a dissolution of marriage. For this process, the parties do not need to attend court as this is done by paper. You should note that if your spouse is outside of Jamaica, the serving processing may take longer than 14 days. But once the Decree Nisi has been applied for then, the final step can occur, applying for the decree absolute.
Step 4: The Decree Absolute Application
Once you have been granted the Decree Nisi, you will have to wait six weeks before filing the decree absolute. This final process also can be done on paper without parties needing to attend court. This final stage provides proof that your marriage is no more.
Please note that there are issues such as whether your spouse is seeking maintenance, the arrangements for children, the dissolution and distribution of property, and custody of children that may warrant additional information than what was stated here. All the best.