Divorce dilemma

All Woman

Dear Mrs Macaulay,
I am hoping you can answer some questions for me regarding my boyfriend's divorce in Jamaica. He is Jamaican and his spouse is an American citizen.

He was married in Jamaica in 2013 to the American woman. He filed for divorce sometime around mid-2015. As of today, we are still waiting for the divorce to be finalised.

There were some issues with serving the spouse in America, but that was taken care of early in 2018. His lawyer has now given him papers to sign titled “Amended Husband's Petition For Dissolution of Marriage”. Can you explain exactly what this is? Is it that the original petition had errors and the lawyer had to make amendments to the document? Does this put us back to the beginning of the process in terms of wait time?

We are both frustrated with the lack of communication between the lawyer and him, and we are very unclear as to where the divorce stands right now.

When we ask the lawyer questions it sometimes takes months for her to respond.

You have asked certain questions of me and particularly about the document, “Amended Husband's Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”, which your boyfriend's lawyer must have asked him to sign and return to her. At the time a requisition from the Divorce Registry for amendments to be made to the original one filed were received by the lawyer, and she should have informed her client of this fact and explained to him what needed to be done. Failing this, as seems to be the case, she should have explained when she sent it to him what it was and why it was necessary for him to sign it and return it to her. I am sorry this did not happen as it is required to be done.

Anyway, the requisition could have related to one or more errors. These generally relate to something required by the law and rules to be included in the petition not having being pleaded in it or not being properly pleaded. This would cause the deputy Registrar for Divorce to reject the original petition and request that the particular error or errors be corrected. This therefore requires an amended petition with the corrections to be prepared, and it must be signed by the petitioner and refiled in court

The refiling does put the matter back to the date of such filing. You say that you and your boyfriend still do not know and are unclear where the divorce proceedings now stand. You also say that when questions are asked of the lawyer, it sometimes takes months for her to respond. This is very unfortunate and clearly explains the feelings of frustration of your boyfriend and yourself.

Your boyfriend, as the petitioner, can, since you both wish to know where his petition stands, and even though his lawyer is obligated to keep him informed, call or better still go to the Civil Registry of the Supreme Court, 54 King Street, Kingston, and go to the divorce window, explain what you need to know, and give the clerk the case number which appears near the top left hand side of the first page of the petition. He should have his ID with him. They would look up the matter in their computer records and be able to let him know the exact stage of the matter, if there is any process outstanding. The clerk may be able to give you an approximate time when your boyfriend can expect the grant of his decree nisi. As a party in a matter in the jurisdiction of the court, he can directly check on the progress of his matter at the Court Registry, as any party in a case can.

I hope I have assisted you and your boyfriend that you can act yourselves to dissipate your frustrations and that his divorce does become absolute very soon, so you can go ahead with your plans for your future together. All happiness.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.




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