Dissolution Of Marriage

Dissolution of Marriage

In this article we will use simple language to explain the laws governing the dissolution of marriage in Jamaica West Indies. Divorce refers to the legal termination of a marriage between two individuals. The process of divorce in Jamaica is relatively simple.

Divorce Eligibility

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act, the law defining divorce and the process for it, those who are eligible for divorce should at least be a Jamaican national,  domiciled in Jamaica during the process of divorce or person who has resided in the country for the past 12 months before filing the divorce.

Before a divorce is filed, a couple should pass a petition that states the history of the marriage and the reasons for separation. They are also required to show proof that they have been living separately for at least 12 months. 

However, those that have lived in the same household can also state that they have been living separately if they can provide proof that they have been sleeping in different bedrooms, have ceased sharing in the household activities, or have ceased to engage in sexual relations.

Grounds for Divorce

There are four valid reasons under the Matrimonial Causes Act that can allow divorce. 

First is if one of the parties had a spouse other than their current spouse during the time of the marriage. 

The second is if the marriage is deemed void by one of the provisions of the Marriage

Another valid cause is when marriage is void under reasons such as it was obtained by fraud, the other party was mistaken as to the identity of the other, or one party is mentally incapable during the ceremony. 

Lastly, a ground for divorce is when the two parties were of the same sex when the marriage ceremony was held.

A marriage can also be dissolved because of irrevocable break downs in the marriage. However, this is subject to the Court’s decision on whether or not the reasons stated are valid


The Divorce Process

As mentioned earlier, the divorce process starts with a petition to dissolve the marriage. This is only filed once the 12-month separation has taken place between the couple. Only one party can file for divorce. 

The Registrar reviews the petition and affixes the Court’s seal to certify that the copies are true. Then these copies are given to the other party’s attorney.

The other party that did not file the petition will be given two weeks to respond. If he/she accepts the divorce, then the process moves on to the first part of the dissolution of the marriage. A few weeks after that, the final order for the dissolution will be granted to the parties.

Custody of the Children

Custody of the children is decided by the couple. The children can stay with one parent, but they are also allowed visitation rights to the other. However, the divorcing couple can also decide to have joint custody which can be prepared by the parties’ attorneys.

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