Am I Eligible for a Divorce?

In Jamaica, the sole ground for a divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

A petition for a Divorce may only be presented to the Court after the expiration of two (2) years of the marriage and the parties have been living separate and apart for one (1) year prior to the presentation of the petition.

However, the Matrimonial Causes Act (the Act) allows the petitioner to apply for leave to present a petition before the expiration of two (2) years if the parties had sought counselling with an approved marriage counsellor and there are special circumstances that would justify the hearing of the petition.

What is Separation?

The parties of a marriage are deemed to have been separated where they have been living apart for one year or more or where they have lived under the same roof but have lived separately and apart. That is, although the parties to the marriage are sharing the same residence they are not exercising the incidents of marriage.

Therefore, before approaching your Attorney about getting a Divorce, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have I been married for 2 years or more?

2. Have I been separated for 1 year or more?

3. Am I ready for a Divorce?

If the answers to the above questions are yes then you should consult your Attorney.

Prepared by Janice Buchanan-McLean, Attorney-at-Law - Law Offices of J. Buchanan-McLean on March 16, 2014

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