What is the procedure for divorce in Jersey?
- The Petitioner files the following documents with the Court to initiate divorce proceedings against the Respondent (additional copy to be provided for an adultery petition against the Co-Respondent):
- Petition (filing for divorce under one of the available grounds).
- Original marriage certificate or certified copy of the same.
- Form 3 – Notice of Proceedings.
- Form 4 – Acknowledgement of Service.
- Form 5 – Statement of Arrangements for the Child/ren (if applicable).
- £300 treasury receipt.
- Once the above is filed the marriage certificate will not be returned by the Court as part of the next stage.
- The Petitioner will receive the original Forms 3, 4 and 5 (if applicable) back from the Court, the documents will have a Court reference number which will be used on all Court documents going forward (the Petition is not returned).
- The Respondent then needs to be served with the above originals, and a copy of the Petition which is usually served via the Viscount’s Department. A treasury receipt of £100 will need to be provided to the Viscount.
- Note, these steps relate to local service on the Respondent only – please refer to the gov.je website for guidance on service outside of the jurisdiction, or issues in relating to locating the Respondent.
- Once the Respondent has received the above papers, they will then have 8 days to return the Form 4 and 5 (if applicable) to the Court. The 8 days will run from the day after the Respondent received the documents. A copy of the Form 4 and 5 will then be sent to the Petitioner.
- If the Respondent has stated that they do not wish to defend the particulars set out in the Petition (i.e. they admit the adultery, as does the Co-Respondent, they accept the Behaviour allegations against them, or consent to the divorce under 1 years’ separation), then the Petitioner can apply the Court to set the matter down for an undefended hearing.
- In matters for 1 years’ separation, the Respondent must return the Form 4 before the Petitioner can proceed with step four. It is therefore recommended that the Viscount’s Department be used for service, to ensure proof of the same upon the Respondent should an issue arise at a later date.
- With regards to the latter, the Petitioner will need to apply for the Greffier’s Certificate (Form 20) and file a relevant Form + Affidavit in respect of the ground they petitioned under in their petition. The second document must be sworn and witnessed before it can be filed with the Court.
- Provided there are no issues when applying for the Greffier’s Certificate, the Court will pronounce Decree Nisi at the next available hearing date. Disputes which arise as to the Petitioner’s costs can be heard at this hearing, although its usual that an agreement will be reached between the parties beforehand or costs will be agreed to be held over.
- A period of six weeks’ and one day must pass before the Petitioner can apply for Decree Absolute to dissolve the marriage.
- The form for applying for Decree Absolute is the Form 12. A treasury receipt must also be filed with the Court for £40.