News and Insights
Getting divorced in Jersey
17 July 2017
If you are thinking of getting divorced there are some key things you need to understand about the process in Jersey.
- You can only get divorced if you have been married for 3 years or more;
- You have to show what is called a ‘ground’ for your divorce. The most common grounds are separation for 1 or 2 years, adultery or unreasonable behaviour;
- The legal test for unreasonable behaviour is something that goes beyond the normal ‘wear and tear’ of married life;
- It is possible to be separated and living under the same roof but you must NOT be living together as husband and wife;
- You either need to be domiciled in Jersey OR have lived here for 1 year in order to get divorced here. It is irrelevant where you were married;
- Before your lawyer can start divorce proceedings they will need your original marriage certificate or a certified copy;
- The person initiating the divorce is known as the Petitioner and the other spouse is known as the Respondent;
- If you are filing an adultery petition and you know who the third party is you must name them and they are called the Co-Respondent;
- If you have children you will also need to complete what is called a Statement of Arrangements for the Children;
- The papers are then served on your spouse and they then have to decide whether or not they agree with the petition. In most cases divorces are what is called undefended. Defended petitions are very rare nowadays;
- The first stage in obtaining a divorce is called the decree nisi. Once you have this the court can make final orders as to children and finances;
- The second and final stage is the decree absolute. The Petitioner can apply for this 6 weeks after the decree nisi;
- There are often times when it is not advisable to apply for the decree absolute at the first opportunity, for example if you are still resolving finances;
- Any applications about children are dealt with as part of the divorce proceedings but are heard separately by the court;
- Financial proceedings are called ‘ancillary relief’ proceedings and where financial matters are agreed you need to enter into a consent order;
- Unless there are disputes over the finances or the children it is not necessary nowadays to actually go to court to get divorced. It is all done on the papers;
- It is always important that we discuss ways of settling disputed matters outside of court such as mediation or arbitration. We will always suggest what we consider to be the best way to resolve disputes;
- In Jersey, Civil Partnership breakdowns are dealt with in the same way as a divorce;
- Only when you have a decree absolute are you free to marry again!
- At Viberts we offer a fixed fee for a divorce and can offer transparent fees for each stage of resolving the finances; please contact me for a confidential discussion.