Cayman government to introduce no fault divorce

| 13/01/2017 | 36 Comments

(CNS): The attorney general has revealed that government is planning to amend the marriage law over the coming year with a view to creating a single ground for divorce. Samuel Bulgin said that changes to the Matrimonial Causes Law will introduce the concept of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, abolishing fault-based grounds. Announcing the planned change during the opening of the Grand Court this week, it came ahead of comments from the chief justice about the high number of divorces here and the challenges they present.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said that “remarkably for a population of our size, we see an average of some 250 divorce petitions each year in the Grand Court and some 200 family related applications in the Summary Courts.”

He also emphasized the challenges that these cases present when a significant number of them involve parents and children from overseas.

“When one party or the other leaves the jurisdiction, the difficult question – who should have the primary custody and care of the child? – will arise,” he said, as he spoke about the work of the family court and the gradual introduction of mediation as an alternative way to resolve family challenges caused by divorce.

CJ Smellie pointed out how frequently the questions of custody arise after children have been taken away from the jurisdiction by one parent against the wishes of the other, sometimes in contravention of a court order of the court.

Dependent on the Hague Convention against child abduction, he said it was fortunate that there was a network of Hague Convention judges willing to work with each other to resolve cross-border family cases and who were accepting decisions made in the Cayman court and helping with the return of children.

But he said the case management of family cases presented its own kind of challenges, which the court is beginning to tackle through mediation.

Although the court was succeeding in getting cases before a judge within the targeted six weeks from the date of filing, the introduction of the Mediation Rules has already resulted in some successful dispute resolution, which the chief justice said would continue to be encouraged this year. He revealed that the number of divorce filings for 2016 was at 245 but said the number was exasperated because family case are notoriously time-consuming because the reluctance of parties to accept the court’s findings can, in some cases, see them drag on for years.

“A judicially imposed solution is often resisted because one side or the other is reluctant to accept it and this results in these cases often coming back before the courts over the course of several years,” he said. “They require constant judicial case management and attention.”

This is why all local judges and magistrates have now been certified to mediate in family and civil cases, the chief justice revealed.

“The result is that the judiciary will now offer to mediate in cases coming before the courts, especially family cases where that is appropriate, and the parties agree to submit to mediation. Some cases have already been successfully mediated and attendance at Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMS), at which the process and benefits are explained, is now mandated by Rules of Court for all matrimonial disputes brought before the courts,” he added.

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  1. Duanne Ebanks says:

    D here.

    Wake up men and women.
    Take the time to ask around. Research what you want out of a life of living loving and laughing. Ultimate happiness comes with social happiness. LOVE could be termed as learn our value everyday. Not what can you do for me. Now men who have been hurt in a marriage are feeling emasculated because they wanted what She was interested in. Women are attracted to your strength. Not how easy you are. Respect that She can enhance your life. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Worse still. Watch out guys. if you marry a woman here that has a child and the child moves in with you, even for a short time before you guys separate, that child, even if from a relationship prior to your marriage, becomes a ‘child of the marriage’ in the eyes of the law and you can be on the hook to maintain that child until it finishes education and potentially have to pay to keep a roof over its head too! Look out and be careful.

  3. Cayman fan says:

    Firstly, I have been married to a Caymanian beauty queen for 38 years. You all produce great wives! We live outside the islands in a jurisdiction that has “no fault” divorce.

    Secondly, Don’t do it! No fault divorce is a disaster for the family and for the society. Instead, I suggest that the government consider a “covenant marriage” such as is available in Lousiana, USA. The parties are bound by their marriage vows and must show violation of those vows by the other party to leave the marriage. The regular marriage would still be available and would be easier to leave.

    Thirdly, some of the comments mention expats marrying Caymanians to obtain status. There is a solution to that. Don’t give them status, or make it a provisional 20 year status dependant on the native spouse or a resident mutual child with the spouse. If no marriage or kid just roll them over and send them home.

    • Sharkey says:

      Cayman fan , you’re absolutely right and makes more sense than those who are proposing “no fault divorce ” .

      Just look at what this would cause to families and the Children, and who are going to be the biggest benifactors of this , LAWYERS both spouses would need one and divorce can go on for years and drain your bank account dry , then when you get it you would have to pay for the rest of your life to pay for the balance unless you have fat check book .

      But the real downside of this it would encourage DIVORCE .
      And remember your Legal Marriage vows , till death do us apart . Don’t let them politicians force another bad Law down your throat for the village brothers .

    • Anonymous says:

      I strongly agree to your third statement as I believe that’s happening to me/

  4. MM says:

    Legal marriage is an illusion and not worth its price.

    And this is not an income stream for Government either because many who entered marriage for convenience end up crying for legal aid during their divorce.

    There are many women who came here, found some foo-foo, desperate caymanian man – pledged their love and obedience, married him; got PR, then ran for a divorce on legal aid.

    Thousands in legal fees paid by this country for this marital illusion.

  5. Rob says:

    Men, if you’re going to get married just have your prenuptial agreement in order. Don’t allow any woman to make you start over from scratch.

    Logic & Commonsense > Love

    • Anonymous says:

      Prenuptial agreements are not recognized here….

    • Anonymous says:

      Or hide your money in a dodgy offshore jurisdiction with even dodgier firewall legislation which allows people living in other countries to flout their local divorce laws……

  6. All this shows how marriage officers need to stop consenting to marry people without a definite course of preparation being taken. Cayman should stop being a “wedding destination” and aim to become what she has only partly aspired to be: a “marriage destination.” Of course such a thing could not be accomplished overnight, but let’s at least make a start.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or that could be left to the religious community who consider marriage as having religious as well as legal significance. Conflating the religious and the legal is a means of allowing religious fundamentalists to exercise power over those who consider there is no evidence to support the sky fairy concept.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point Mr Sykes. But the definite course of preparation need not be religion based. It would be far better if the marriage officer spent time sussing out to the best of his or her ability whether this was a marriage merely for a foreigner, mainly but not exclusively, Jamaicans, to stay in Cayman or one based on real love, affection, respect etc.

  7. Anonymous says:

    i will never marry again. it only a financial contract. tha all……

  8. Unison says:


    Marriage is not the same as it was in the Ole days. Now the government and church claims to own it. You need an in-between minister between you & your lover to know your personal business and exchanged rings … now … you tell me, where is that even in the Bible??? And you need “permission” to get a divorce from the government Courts. Today is never like the Ole days!

    In the beginning, you simply enacted a marriage by leaving your parents home, finding a woman who likes you alot, and then you take that woman into your tent like Abraham days …. then she becomes your wife! No foolish traditions and the churches!

    Divorce simply meant separating, she leaves the man or the man leaves her – it is none of your business! It is none of the churches business nor the government!

    * Unless innocent children are being harmed nor neglected, and no one in the family wants to rescue, then I would say the government should intervene.

    But this socalled marriage and divorce issues are completely set up to drain you, rob you, take your wealth, and control your life. :/

  9. Anonymous says:

    Drag on for years…no thanks.

    Why don’t they introduce partnership laws…or are they lovin the fees that the courts bring in keeping the lawyers busy.

    Sorry., CIG your going to have to work harder to fool this next generation..we see how it is in the UK and we are not fooled.. more than one way to skin a cat..e.g. I can do everything that a married couple can do with a simple deed..and I aint marrying anybody for immigration requirements..

    I will let the gay rights people shred up the concept of marriage and wait until the damn thing is abolished. It like the legalisation of weed in reverse…soon it is going to be illegal to get married lol ….suckers

  10. Robert says:

    As a man ,and living here , as I see it , the woman is getting no benefit from being married to these lazy no work mommies boys on this island ,

  11. Anonymous says:

    Divorce is bad enough as it is, and I cannot believe that we don’t have “no fault” already. Basically currently one of the couple has to accuse the other of something and in an already emotionally raw state the other person is always going to defend against that. Whilst it is still bad, at least this may take away one of the big issues with divorce. I came across laws in former Soviet states on property which make sense to me…whatever you take into a marriage remains yours, whatever you buy or gain during marriage is split 50/50. If kids are involved then generally the person looking after them gets maintenance from the other party, but at reasonable levels. I like it, because you always know where you stand…

    • Anonymous says:

      Automatic 50:50 shared residence order, no maintenance. Take away the financial incentive for a party to make false allegations on custody issues.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most times one parent doesn’t actually want care and control.This is usually the father. However it can be the mother. Reason being that parent never had that responsibility when the couple was together and when split it continues on.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I got nothing out of my divorce but debt because my worthless ex husband put everything in his parents name. I know of many women who got nothing or who couldn’t stay on island because they lost their rights as a status holder/caymanian because they weren’t together long enough and had no where to go but home for financial reasons. That meant that they had to leave the children behind because the court would not allow them to leave. It is never about the child’s welfare. It is always about control. The former husband showed true power by taking away everything. How about address those things first?

    Why is the law being made easier to qualify for a divorce anyway?

  13. Anonymous says:

    strange that there is so many failed marraiges in this ‘great christian nation’….

  14. Matthew 5 says:

    What makes divorce any less of a sin than homosexuality?

    “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s a lot of money is divorce. gotta keep those lawyers and judges paid somehow. Don’t worry that law on same-sex marriage will soon pass, so that the judges and lawyers have more marriages to destroy. soon come bobo

  15. Anonymous says:

    what a great pic CNS… textbook… woman gets everything… the man gets nothing… yep that’s the Cayman court for you….

  16. Anonymous says:

    Why any rational thinking man would want to get married is these times is beyond belief. Men need to think about their futures and realize that marriage is a bad investment for them and that they can’t expect to get fair consideration from the gyno-judicial system that we have in the Cayman Islands.

    The world is changing and more men are waking up to the reality that marriage is of no benefit to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      AMEN BROTHER !!! tricky part is that, you will never get a residency order for your children if you don’t get married. that’s how they force you into it.

      90% of divorces in Cayman filed by women for a reason. Ching Ching !!! It’s all about the benjamins !!! they use false accusations, get the kids, then you get stuck with the bill !

      Lawyers and Judges getting paid ! Mama’s dumps baby on babysitter (Daddy pays the sitter of course through maintenance), Mama’s out humping every piece she can get, then cryin about how hard it is being a single Mama on Facebook. Daddy gets called a deadbeat dad on Facebook and by politicians.

      Yep just another day in Cayman…

    • Anonymous says:

      preach it

  17. Jello says:

    Excellent news.

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