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Divorce | A Detailed Overview | Parslows Family Lawyers Jersey

The breakdown of human relationships can cause great stress, anxiety and problems. The process of separation and divorce is rarely easy.

Our aim is always to attempt to deal with divorce as painlessly as we can. While this cannot always be achieved – much depends on an individual client’s own requirements and the way in which the other party to the case proceeds – we will always attempt to seek such a course for you.  We will look to solutions to solve any problems between the parties and not to add to the antagonism.


Divorce can only be granted by the Royal Court.

It is not possible to apply for a divorce until at least three years after the date of the marriage.

Furthermore,  either or both of the parties must live in Jersey, or at least one of them must have lived in Jersey for the past year, at the time proceedings begin.

There are a number of grounds for divorce in Jersey:-

Adultery: That the other party has committed adultery (that is, has had sexual intercourse with someone else during the marriage).

Behaviour: That the other party has behaved in such a way that he or she cannot reasonably be expected to live with the other party.

Desertion: That the other party has deserted him or her for the last two years at least. In practice, desertion is not often used as a ground for divorce.

One years’ separation: That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for at least the last year and the other agrees to be divorced.

Two years’ separation: That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for the last two years (whether or not the other agrees to the divorce).

Applying for a divorce

To apply for a divorce, a person must issue what is called a petition.

A petition is a legal document setting out the basis on which the divorce is sought and the facts to be relied on.

The person applying for the divorce is called the petitioner. The petition is issued by sending it to the Court with the marriage certificate and a fee.

If there are children involved, the petitioner must also send the Court a statement setting out the arrangements for the children.

Service of the divorce papers

Once a petition has been issued a copy must be given to the other party to the marriage. This person is called the Respondent.

The Respondent must complete and send to the court a form to say that he or she has received the petition and whether the case is to be contested. This is called an acknowledgement of service (form 4).

Once the petition has been served

In the acknowledgement of service, the Respondent must say whether he or she will defend the claim for a divorce. If he or she does, they must send the Court what is called an answer; that is a written statement saying why he or she denies that the Petitioner should have a divorce.

In most cases, the Respondent does not defend the petition and the Petitioner can complete the acknowledgement of service (form 4)  This is the stage at which the Petitioner satisfies the Court that he or she should be granted a divorce.

This is done by sending the Court a sworn statement, called an affidavit, in which the Petitioner tells the Court that everything stated in the petition is true and provides certain other information.

If the Royal Court is satisfied with the paperwork it will grant a decree nisi.

A decree nisi is not a final decree of divorce. However, once six weeks have elapsed after the grant of a decree nisi, the Petitioner can apply for a decree absolute. It is the decree absolute which actually brings the marriage to an end.  If the Petitioner fails to apply for a decree absolute the Respondent will be able to apply.

Arrangements for children

If there are children involved, the Petitioner is unlikely to be able to apply for a decree absolute unless the Court is satisfied that satisfactory arrangements have been made for them. When the petition is filed, a statement is given to the Court setting out the arrangements which have been made for the children. If the court is concerned that the arrangements may not be satisfactory, it can require the parties to attend a hearing at which the arrangements for the children will be considered.

Undefended divorce

The vast majority of divorces proceed as “undefended divorces”, in other words, the respondent does not oppose the divorce itself and agreed to divorce on the basis of one-year separation.

There is often little point in a person defending divorce proceedings because:-

If one party to a marriage thinks that the marriage has irretrievably broken down then almost by definition it will have done.

From the point of view of resolving disputes about children or money, it does not matter which party obtains the divorce.

How Parslows Jersey can help

Parslows Jersey Divorce, Dissolution and Family Law team provide an exceptional service to all our clients.

Our divorce lawyers are focused on providing you with expert advice with a truly personal service.

We advise on all aspects of family law: whether it be advice on divorce, dissolution of a partnership or financial settlements we can assist.

Our clients are pleased with our service and fees, we are confident you will too.

For further information please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on familylaw@parslowsjersey.com

The information and opinion expressed in this briefing does not purport to be definitive or comprehensive and are not intended to provide professional advice. For specific advice, please contact Parslows, We are not responsible for, and do not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with, the content of this document or any reliance upon it.


Parslows Jersey are here to help with all your legal queries call us today on +44 (0) 1534 630530