What are the Grounds for a Jersey Divorce
There are a number of grounds for divorce in Jersey:-
How do I apply for a Divorce?
The person applying for the divorce must first 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.
How do I serve Divorce papers?
Once the Court has approved the Petition and it is 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).
What happens 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.
When do I get a decree nisi?
If the Court is satisfied with the paperwork submitted it will grant a Decree Nisi. A Decree Nisi is not a final decree of divorce. In other words you are not yet formally divorced
When can I get a decree absolute?
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.
The vast majority of divorces proceed as “undefended divorces”; in other words, the Respondent does not oppose the divorce itself and agrees 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.
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 child arrangements have been made for them. When the Petition is filed, a statement is given to the Court setting out the arrangements that 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.
What are the Grounds for civil partnership dissolution?
Under Jersey Law the Court may grant a final order for of your civil partnership dissolution on one or more of the following grounds:
What is the procedure for applying for civil partnership dissolution?
Step 1 – Preparation of the Cause Application
The Cause Application is drafted.
The Application sets out the particulars of your civil partnership, the grounds for dissolution and the relief that you want.
The person who issues the Cause Application is the Applicant and the other person is the Respondent.
Step 2 – File the Cause Application with the Court
The Cause Application is filed with the Royal Court, together with:
Step 3 – Serving the Cause Application papers on the Respondent
The Royal Court will review your Cause Application and associated documents. If it is satisfied that the documents are in order, it will issue a Court file number and return the documentation to you for service.
If the Respondent is in Jersey, then the Cause Application must be served personally on the Respondent through the Viscount’s department.
The following will be served on the Respondent:
Step 4 – Return of Acknowledgment of Service
The Respondent has 8 days after being served with the Cause papers to complete and return the Acknowledgment of Service to the Royal Court. The Respondent will confirm whether he/she intends to defend the Cause Application.
Step 5 – Setting the Cause for Hearing (undefended cases)
If the Respondent confirms that he/she does not intend to defend the Cause Application, you can proceed to apply for the Cause to be set down at the next undefended hearing. In order to set the Cause Application down, you will be required to apply for the Greffier’s Certificate and complete an Affidavit (depending upon which ground you have based your application).
If the Registrar is satisfied with the paperwork, the Registrar issues the Greffier’s Certificate and sets a date for the pronouncement of the Conditional Order.
Step 6 – Hearing
In the case of an undefended hearing, the Court will consider the documentation filed without the parties being present. The parties may be required to attend if there is a dispute about costs.
Step 7 – Conditional Order
If the Court is satisfied with the Cause Application and supporting documents the Conditional Order will be pronounced. If the Court is satisfied about the arrangements for each child, this is stated in the Court Minutes and a Certificate of Satisfaction will be issued to you.
Step 8 – Decree Absolute
From six weeks and a day after the Conditional Order has been pronounced, the Applicant is entitled to apply for a final order for dissolution of the civil partnership.
If the Petitioner does not apply, the Respondent may apply for the Conditional Order to be made final three months thereafter by filing a Summons.
The Conditional Order will not be made final unless the Registrar is satisfied with the arrangements
What is the process?
When dealing with a couple’s financial provisions on divorce, there are two ways in which you can proceed. The first being voluntarily and the second being an application to the Royal Court for ancillary relief / financial provision.
It is important to note that an application for ancillary relief can only be filed once a petition for Jersey divorce or judicial separation is before the Royal Court.
The usual process for disclosure upon an application for financial provisions on divorce
The first stage in the disclosure process, whether it be voluntarily or through Royal Court proceedings, is for both parties’ legal representatives to set a date for exchanging the Affidavits of Means.
An Affidavit of Means is a document which lists information in respect of an individual’s financial situation. The document covers a wide range of circumstances which could apply in any given case, for example; details of any property owned, details of all bank accounts held, any pensions, shares or investment policies, details of any loans and liabilities, any personal belongings of a particular value and details of that person’s individual needs and the needs of the children (where applicable).
The Affidavit of Means is then accompanied by supporting disclosure; the usual documentation provided are the following:
Once the Affidavits of Means are exchanged, where necessary, there may be a provision for questionnaires to be exchanged. Questionnaires are done on the basis of the information received; the other side then has the right to request for further disclosure where proportionate. Replies are then exchanged shortly thereafter, to provide the information sought in the questionnaires.
Proposals are then negotiated by the legal representatives as to any offers for settlement.
In the event of Royal Court proceedings for financial provisions on divorce, there may be further filing tasks where appropriate.
Where an agreement has been reached, the parties may enter into a consent order which will be binding when ratified by the Royal Court. Alternatively, the Court may make an order for financial provisions on divorce in the absence of any agreement at a final hearing.
Who is responsible for the welfare of the children when a marriage breaks up?
Where children are born during the course of the marriage, both parents have parental responsibility.
How is Parental responsibility defined?
Parental responsibility is defined as:
“All the rights, duties, powers, responsibility and authority which by law a parent has in relation to a child and his property”.
The courts are often asked to decide disputes between divorcing parents relating to their children.
The guiding principle of family law is that the interests of the children are paramount.
What law governs how disputes over children are dealt with?
Disputes concerning children are dealt with in accordance with the Children Law.
The underlying philosophy of this Act is that courts should not become involved unnecessarily with disputes between parties concerning their children. The courts take the view that litigation concerning children can be harmful to the children and should therefore be discouraged. The idea is that, wherever possible, parents should sort out their differences through negotiation.
What factors do the Court consider when deciding on a dispute about children?
The Court will take into account a number of factors when deciding on a dispute relating to child.
What type of orders can the Court make?
Orders which the Court can make include the following:-
Who can apply?
Either parent in a divorce may apply to the Court for any of the above orders. In this way disputes as to who the child should live with, who the child should see, where the child should go to school, whether or not the child should be allowed to be taken out of the country, etc, can be determined by the Royal Court.
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