End of Marital Relationship Checklist ( 8.25.1 )
End of Marital Relationship Checklist
Updated: December 2018
- The following checklist deals with the Married Person. 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 on other CAB information pages by clicking on the links provided.
Words You May Need to Know are added before each section
The sections deal with :
- Requirements for action in Jersey
- Domestic Violence
- Social Security
- Occupational or Private Pension
- Bank Accounts
- Division of Assets
- Legal Advice
- Notes : Annulment; Separation with/without separation agreement; Judicial separation
REQUIREMENTS FOR ACTION IN JERSEY
Petition – a document in which you ask for the Court to order something
Judicial separation – when the parties to a marriage live apart and are no longer subject to the obligations of marriage. A financial settlement can be made as part of a judicial separation. The effect of a judicial separation is that although the parties do not have to live together, they are not divorced and are not free to remarry.
Grounds – reasons. To get a divorce or separation under Jersey law it is necessary to prove that one or more grounds as set out in the Matrimonial Causes (Jersey) Law 1949 can be shown.
Domicile – the country that you are from. Everyone has a domicile of origin. On marriage a married woman takes on the domicile of her husband. It is possible for a man or unmarried woman to change domicile by choice, but it is quite onerous to do so. A married woman cannot choose her own domicile, she takes that of her husband (he may of course have a domicile of choice and so a married woman’s domicile may change but not by her own choice).
Instituted - started
Habitually resident – where you normally live
Proceedings – the legal process involved when you get separated or divorced
How long married?
Minimum of three years before petitioning for divorce. No time limit for Judicial Separation. Need grounds for divorce nullity or judicial separation.
How long on the island?
The parties to the marriage are domiciled in Jersey when 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. See 8.25.12
On what basis is the divorce being sought?
- Specific grounds - see 8.25.12 above
- 1 year separation - with consent.
- 2 years separation - without consent
Freehold or Flying freehold / Share Transfer property - different ways in which you can own property in Jersey
Entitled / licensed status - different categories of residential status under Jersey law. Your status affects the type of property you can live in or job you can do
Population Office – the Government office that is responsible for deciding residential status
Owner occupied Freehold or flying freehold
If the property was purchased in joint names either spouse is permitted to remain in the property even though he/she may not have entitled status in their own right as long as the other spouse has entitled status.
If neither spouse is entitled, and only one has licensed status, only that spouse may live in the property if the parties separate.
If the property was purchased in the sole name of the spouse who has Entitled Status the other party may not remain in the property on their own, without the permission of the Population Office if they do not have entitled status. See 8.28.10
Share Transfer Property
The spouse who remains in the property must have Entitled or Licensed status.
Is the home rented?
Who is the tenant? Private or Public Sector?
Only licensed or entitled parties may remain living in licensed (qualified) accommodation.
Each party has an obligation to maintain each other and their children. It will usually be better for the parent with care of the children to remain in the property but not always. It is possible to remain in the same property while separated but the parties have to lead completely separate lives, separate shopping, washing, cooking, cleaning and sharing expenses. Legal advice is essential
Parental responsibility order – order of the court giving an unmarried father parental responsibility for his child. Parental responsibility is all the rights and responsibilities of a parent.
Residence Order –an order stating who a child lives with
Contact Order – an order stating who a child should have contact with. This may be direct contact (face to face) or indirect (telephone, letter, Skype etc).
Prohibited Steps Order – an order that something in relation to a child is prohibited, eg taking the child off island or changing her name.
Specific Issue Order – an order specifying that something should happen eg medical treatment or attend a specific school.
Reside - live
Amicably – in a friendly manner
Ratified – confirmed
Both parents automatically have parental responsibility provided they were married to each other at the time of the birth. See 8.30.40
An unmarried father can apply to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order or the parties can enter into a parental responsibility agreement and have it registered with the Greffe. An unmarried father whose name is on the birth certificate automatically obtains parental responsibility for children born after 2nd December 2016.
There is a principle of no order in children matters but any parent may apply for a Residence Order if the parents cannot agree with whom the children should live. The court's decision on who the child will live with will be guided by a report from the Jersey Courts Family Advisory Service (JFCAS). Also see Jersey Family Mediation Service, 8.25.13.L1
A Residence Order may be made in respect of more than one person and if so the order will state the periods in which the child will reside in each household. People other than parents (eg grandparents) can apply for a residence order with the permission of the court.
There is a principle of no order in respect of contact, as with residence, but if matters cannot be agreed an application can be made as with an application for a residence order. For more information see 8.30.40
A useful guide is available to download here
Injunction – a court order preventing someone from doing something eg harassing or molesting a person. Can also have an injunction preventing someone from visiting a certain place or living in a certain place.
Can you prove it? Doctor's evidence, Police evidence.
Is it continuing? Injunction needed - refer to Legal Aid
Is support needed? Women's Refuge, Al Anon, Relate, Victim Support, Independent Domestic Abuse Adviser, police
Benefits – here, financial support received from Government
Maintenance – money paid by one person to another for financial support
Negotiation – a discussion over something when you want to reach a conclusion
Sources of Money?
Employment - Full time or part time - see 6.2.0
Benefits - Income Support see 9.3.0
Contribution from absent parent? Maintenance - usually for children by voluntary agreement or negotiation through Lawyers. Applications can be made to court as part of financial settlement on divorce or under Schedule 1 Children (Jersey) Law 2002 where parents are unmarried. See Separation and Maintenance, 8.27.10.L1
Parties should notify the Comptroller of Taxes when they separate. They can opt to be assessed separately even if they do not divorce. Care should be taken to ensure the tax allowances are allocated to the correct party.
See also 8.27.10.L1
Contributions – Jersey law requires everyone living in Jersey to pay a percentage of their income in social security contributions to government to pay for benefits such as pensions or sickness benefits
In order to be eligible for contributory benefits each party to the marriage should pay full contributions. If a wife has been paying the reduced contributions she should contact the Customer and Local Services to ask to change to paying full contributions.
OCCUPATIONAL OR PRIVATE PENSION
Divorce settlement – final financial agreement that is reached as part of divorce proceedings.
Pensions are taken into account in financial settlements on 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.
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
Assets – things you own
For a financial settlement the parties both need to know the extent of the assets, in each sole name or joint names and the value of the assets. The starting point for division is 50/50 but this starting point may be departed from depending on the circumstances eg 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 is available to those on a low income but there may still be a contribution necessary. In order to keep legal costs down use the time spent with the lawyer 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 4.2.2 Some firms will provide free information sessions.
It is usual for each party to be responsible for their own legal costs.
Annulment – when something is cancelled in a way that means it is considered not to have happened
Consummate – it is considered necessary for sexual intercourse to have happened to ‘consummate’ or ‘complete’ a marriage
Mutually acceptable – everyone agrees
Note 1: Annulment
Grounds such as "Wilful refusal" to consummate the marriage. Legal advice essential.
Note 2: Separation with or without separation agreement.
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.
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. See also 8.25.6
Note 3: 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 8.25.6
4.3.0.L8(B) When you see your advocate
4.3.2 Legal Aid in Jersey
8.30.82.L8 Families need fathers