End of marital relationship
The information given should not be relied on as legal advice. If you want legal advice, you should contact a lawyer. Legal Aid may be available. Additional information can be found by clicking on the links provided.
If the marriage has ended, the client may apply for divorce or judicial separation. When granting either of these, the court also has to make decisions about property, money and children. The court has to consider the implications of any decisions and the needs of any children of the marriage. The court also must take into account all the circumstances of the case including, for example, the income and needs of both partners and the contribution they have made to the welfare of the family. The court cannot decide what should happen to the matrimonial home in isolation. The court must consider who is likely to have residence of any children, the financial position and housing alternatives for each partner.
The type of order the court will make depends on whether the home is rented or owned. If the home is rented, decisions about who lives there will have less effect on the other financial arrangements that are made. A home that is owned is much more central to the arrangements of the divorce.
How long have you been married?
Minimum of three years is required before petitioning for divorce. No time limit for Judicial Separation. Need grounds for divorce nullity or judicial separation.
How long have you lived on the island?
The parties to the marriage must be domiciled in Jersey for one year before proceedings are instituted or either of the parties was habitually resident in Jersey throughout the year leading up to the date when proceedings are begun.
On what basis is the divorce being sought?
Specific grounds – see Divorce
- 1 year separation – with consent.
- 2 years separation – without consent
Please see Ending relationships and housing.
For information on parental responsibility and arrangements for children, please see Parental Responsibility.
Domestic abuse can take many forms, including emotional, physical, sexual, and financial.
An injunction is a court order which prevents someone from doing something, e.g., harassing a person. It is also possible to have an injunction preventing someone from visiting a certain place or living in a certain place. Legal Aid may be available for an injunction.
You may wish to record any evidence of abuse using the Injure Capture app, doctor’s evidence, or police evidence.
For more information and support, please see States of Jersey Police – Domestic abuse
A divorce settlement is a final financial agreement that is reached as part of divorce proceedings.
Parties should notify the tax office when they separate. Care should be taken to ensure the tax allowances are allocated to the correct party.
Income Support may be available.
One party may be entitled to spousal or child maintenance from the other. Please see Child Maintenance.
If a wife has been paying reduced contributions, she should contact Customer and Local Services to change to paying full contributions. For further information, please see Payment of contributions (gov.je).
Occupational or private pension
Pensions are taken into account in financial settlements in divorce. There is no pension sharing in Jersey but the value of a pension (suitably discounted because it is a future rather than a current asset) can be off-set against other assets. Legal advice is recommended.
It is sensible for each party to have a separate bank account. Some banks will freeze a joint account if they become aware that the parties are separating.
Division of Assets
For a financial settlement, the parties both need to know the extent of the assets in each sole name or joint names and the values. The starting point for division is 50/50 but this starting point may be departed from depending on the circumstances e.g. inheritance, contribution, caring responsibilities, income needs, disability, age, earning capacity and in some cases, conduct. Marital agreements are also taken into account.
Parties looking to divorce are advised to seek legal advice. Legal Aid may be available to those on a low income but there may still be a contribution necessary. In order to keep legal costs down, consider using a mediation service such as Family Foundation or Family Mediation Jersey. Some law firms also offer a family mediations service. Use any time spent with lawyers wisely, e.g., prepare questions, keep a record of answers, make your own photocopies, research etc.
A list of lawyers who have an interest in family Law is available at Lawyers-specialist lawyers. Some firms will provide free information sessions. It is usual for each party to be responsible for their own legal costs.
Where parties separate, the date of separation is when they began to live apart. There is no need for any formal notification of this date if they are agreed. It is wise to agree interim (or even final) financial arrangements during separation.
Final financial arrangements cannot be ordered by the court unless there is a divorce or judicial separation. A judicial separation is a way to obtain a financial settlement when there can’t be a divorce because the parties have not been married for 3 years or because a divorce is ruled out due to religious reasons. See also Judicial and legal separation.
The parties must not resume cohabitation during the period of separation. If they do, the period of separation for a separation divorce petition has to start again.