Searching for divorce papers
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Dear Mrs Macaulay,

I really need your help. I'm an American citizen living in the United States so I'm unable to physically go to the Supreme Court of Jamaica to request my divorce decree absolute. I was married in Jamaica to a Jamaican in 2016. My ex-husband never sent me the divorce decree and disappeared in 2018. I've emailed the Supreme Court of Jamaica to no avail. I'm desperate at this point. I even e-mailed/called his lawyer and he also vanished. Is there any possible way you can help me, because I'm lost.

I am very sorry to hear the difficulties you have gone through because a certified copy of the decree absolute granted in your husband's petition for the dissolution of your marriage was never served on you by the attorney-at-law who represented him throughout his divorce proceedings. Are you sure that he applied for the decree nisi to be made absolute? And, do you know for a fact that the decree absolute was granted? You see, sometimes the petitioner does not proceed with the application for the decree nisi to be made absolute. In such cases the respondent (like you), when appreciable time has passed after the date of the grant of the decree nisi and no application was made, can make the application and in such circumstances it would be granted, once the application is properly prepared and its affidavit in support follows the regulated form and contains all the necessary information.

Did you send an e-mail to the registrar in charge of matrimonial or divorce proceedings or even a specific official or clerk there? I shall give you the telephone numbers which you can try, but when the call is answered, you must say at once that you are phoning from abroad and you wish to speak to the registrar in charge of divorce matters. I shall also give you e-mail addresses which you can first compare with the one you used. If you fail to receive a reply, then you ought to consider reporting your experience to the chief justice.

You must have the claim number at hand to give to the recipient of your call or e-mail, and the full names of your ex and yourself, so that the search can be effected in the most direct manner. If you do not have these correctly, it would slow it down or cause the search to fail completely.

If you do not have the full and proper names and the claim number, then you must be at least able to provide your ex's names and any variation he may have used, and you should try to provide the date of filing of the petition or the period around which it was filed. These latter searches will take much more time to effect.

Anyway, let me assume that you have all the correct particulars and that the search of the file is successful, then the specific search for the decree absolute can then be done. If the decree absolute was granted, it would be in the file and a copy can be sent to you via e-mail. If you need it for official purposes, you would have to apply for a certified copy.

For this latter course, you must retain the services of an attorney to act for you by effecting a search of the court file and if the decree absolute is there, to prepare your application and supporting documents and the copies for certification and to effect the payment of the search fee and for the requisite stamps at the Stamp Office. This last is generally the quicker and a certain means of obtaining the certified copy that you need.

I really suggest that you retain a lawyer of your own to act for you and prepare the application. These are the numbers for the court: +1 876-613-8753/ 876-577-8840/876-577-9063 and e-mail

All the very best.

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; 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.

Margarette MACAULAY

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