New bills pave way for no fault divorce

| 16/04/2018 | 42 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands public is being invited to weigh in on three draft bills that government is proposing to modernise the legislation surrounding marriage and family life. The new laws include major changes to the process of divorce with the introduction of irretrievable breakdown as a no fault reason, the removal of the right to damages for adultery and cutting the separation period before a divorce can be granted to just one year. The bills also deal with maintenance payments, including the increase in the age parents remain financially responsible for their children from 14 to 18. 

The Law Reform Commission has been working on legislation to shape the family law environment and the areas of matrimony, maintenance and family property for more than six years. It now has three new proposed bills ready for public comment ahead of any final decisions by government.

Cayman has a high divorce rate despite relatively strict legislation that makes the ending of marriages harder here than in comparative jurisdictions. In a 2010 report by the United Nations, Cayman had the fifth highest divorce rate per capita in the world. But getting a divorce in the Cayman Islands is by no means easy and it currently requires that someone has to be blamed for the marriage collapsing. In addition, people can pursue adulterous spouses and their extramarital partners in the court for financial damages.

The new trio of bills proposes eliminating the fault-based system to the more commonly accepted reason of irretrievable breakdown. It also includes a proposal to reduce the current separation period of two and five years to just 12 months before the dissolution of a marriage. The new legislation also proposes recognising common law unions of five years or more when it comes to family property rights.

The changes to the legislation include the introduction of mediation, the recognition of pre-nuptial agreements, gender equality in maintenance proceedings and removing the remaining legal provisions distinguishing between children regarded as illegitimate and legitimate, among other changes.

No final decision has been made on the legislation, officials stated in a release, and before the draft bills head to Cabinet for approval and then on to the Legislative Assembly for debate the public is being given the chance to comment on all three proposed pieces of legislation. Government said public submissions will be taken into account before a decision is made on the final reform of this legislative package.

Comments should be made in writing no later than 8 June

by mail to:
Cheryl Neblett, First Legislative Counsel, Portfolio of Legal Affairs
P.O. Box 1999
Grand Cayman KY1-1104

or delivered by hand to:
The offices of the Attorney General
5th floor, Government Administration Building
133 Elgin Avenue, George Town, Grand Cayman

or sent by e-mail to cheryl.neblett@gov.ky

See the proposed laws and a summary of the changes in the CNS Library

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Category: Laws, Local News, Politics

Comments (42)

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  1. Ting says:

    Marriage should be like a driver’s license you have to renew it if you want.

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  2. Kadafe says:

    I like the proposed changes, hurry it up then. Men and women both need to have the opportunity to be able to get away from crazy, dangerous, unfaithful, bad tempered and/or abusive souses as quickly, easily and pain free as possible. What we have been faced with up until now drags on much too long.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As long as they don’t run to a same sex Union, right kadafe? Where do you get off celebrating freedom from one kind of abuse to not supporting others freedom to choose…screwed up caymanetics.

  3. Bob says:

    Divorce is always set up to favor the woman.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    ha ha ha…i meant wealth!??? ps. i am happily single now…11 yrs and counting…….. having best time of my life!!!??

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dont ever get married. Waste of time, youll end up cheating anyway.

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  6. Helpme says:

    Can they bring in a law to save ex pTs from mad caymanians women who change once the ring is on and torture their husbands every day , serious.

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    • Rick says:

      This is what Cayman women do, they will marry you for a few years and just before your resident cert is up they then divorce you and clean out your savings and pension. They will report you to immigation and we know immigration is all too happy to boot you off the island.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see them draft and introduce laws that allow fathers to take paternity leave, allow mothers more than 6 weeks with their newborn baby and stiffen the sentences and penalties for all persons accused of crimes against children. I have a ton of others that in my opinion take precedent over this bill.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with giving mothers any additional time is that most business owners will say that it will be an additional financial burden to them and can create other problems for the business. One female business owner once told me that she will never again employ a woman that is in her child bearing years because she had several women out of the office on maternity leave and her business was suffering as a result of having so many people out of the office at the same time.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah… I know employers who refuse to hire single mothers because they fear false allegations of the metoo movement… the problem with catering to radical feminist ideology is business suffers and society disintegrates….

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      • Anonymous says:

        Which is exactly why legislation needed. Why should the capital rich minority so oppress the vast majority? When they have kids they take all the time off they want.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That’s so sad. At the end of the day, most employers will allow their Management staff to take up to a year off (with some pay) to have their kids. What does that say to you? As I said, it should be the laws that are changed by the government as we all know that employers will not extend the same to their staff, especially low level staff. Also, our country is wealthy enough to facilitate this. We make stupid excuses for things that make total sense and try to fix things for the rich when the local people continue to suffer. I feel like if these women and men are allowed the time to bond with their children it will only benefit the island as a whole.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Wait til they introduce same-sex marriage/civil unions. It’s only then you will see plenty people headin to court to get divorced to be with who they want to be with…stay woke folks.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    mo-money…..it has become all about wrealth and money??? not for me….?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Irrelevant to any laws that can be enacted, unless the Grand Court/Family Court, put a clamp on the lawyers in this jurisdiction, divorces will still cost an arm and a leg, with men footing the bill.

    Currently, the courts do not hold perjury to a high standard, despite the law, and the police will not investigate despite this being a crime. The courts don’t believe it’s in the best interest of children to hold these mothers criminally accountable, which leads to widespread abuse. What this means, is that the family lawyers know this, and women are routinely making false allegations, which subsequently need to be “investigated” by DCFS. This interim period is then used to withhold children from their Fathers pending the outcomes, which the time period then gets used against the Fathers to withhold residency orders.

    The jurisdiction is currently facing international scrutiny via the Hague Convention because of it’s obligation to protect children, and their failures to do so, because of this very same “clique of lawyers”.

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    • Tiffany Ebanks says:

      Soooooo true ! Omg. My family has gone through this charade. That one law firm that all the other lawyers know is notorious. XXXXX otherwise known in the community as the man-killers. Such a piss poor excuse of a firm. XXXXX who are hurting children for their financial gain. Would be great to get a FOI request from the courts on how much legal funding they receive from Gov. Some estimates are that 80% of all funding for family matters go through their firm XXXXX.

      This law will do more harm, if the AG and Chief Justice don’t put an immediate stop to this legal abuse and stop protecting unethical lawyers.

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  11. Anonymously says:

    CNS: “In addition, people can pursue adulterous spouses and their extramarital partners in the court for financial damages.”

    I hope they don’t get rid of this right. People need to be held responsible in having an affair with someone’s else spouse; especially, if they have children!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh come on, a decent mistress is well-deserved recreation for the successful older man. They help keep families together.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ha! Same goes for women. A little boy toy on the side is wonderful for the soul of a woman having to live with a pig.

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      • Bradley1 says:

        For fleeting desires that pass away. Surely life is too short and love and commitment is much more than looks and feelings. You then play the unfaithful and cheater (when you can respectfully devorce), and then lose your soul as the “spirits” behind the desires further blind you. This is a direct result of society becoming atheistic in a strange way – folk saying they believe in God but their actions, speaking louder than words, will find them out on the Day of judgement. Satan’s temptations are to make you if you resist them, or they are to break you, as you sell out your soul and principles. Its up to you – your choice of heaven or hell.

        Of course, more comments to water down faith and seriousness of absolute morality ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well if my wife dont wana give it up then its her problem. Someone else kindly will.

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    • Anonymous says:

      the mistress is broke and was boopsing your husband so where she going get $ from to pay damages, she barely got enough to top up her phone.

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  12. West Bay Premier says:

    All those Politicians that are married must be planning to divorce soon why they are spending time on divorce bills , But how pathetic that they would be wasting time on divorce when you have crime destroying the Islands, , and barbaric people who would take pictures of a deceased Lady lying in the road and posting it on Facebook . How pathetic of them .

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  13. Anonymous says:

    A good start…now recognize civil partnerships, both traditional and same sex. Just get it done. Or is this the smoke screen to hide the port shenanigans?

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    • RICK says:

      Civil partnerships will lead to court cases where PR are concerned. Once Civil partnerships is made law then that opens the gate for expats to claim PR via civil unions

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      • Anonymous says:

        OHHHHH…JUST SHUT UP ALREADY!!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Please, enough with the homophobic BS! Immigration compells many bad relationships to marry and contributes to the high divorce rate in the Cayman Islands. Same sex legislation will benefit more Caymanians living in the shadows in their own home, than migrant permit holders!

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        • Rick says:

          Have you ever seen the requirements for a non Caymanian spouse to apply for a resident cert , its a ton of paper work and Immigration gets the upper hand to deport at will.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Congrats to the Govt for finally addressing this ancient Law and bringing it up to the 21st century; maybe next will be the Sunday Law to address the Music and Dancing aspect of same.

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  15. RICK says:

    These new laws will target expat spouses married to a Caymanians that are in problems. Seems more reasons to find ways to kick expats off the islands for potential Status holders. Once a marriage has broken down then immigration has the right to deport you. Quick devorce equals the faster you can get booted off the island.
    Small island wanting tobe big with small minds

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  16. Anonymous says:

    There should be no recognition of so-called common law unions. If a man or woman is not satisfied with the fact that they don’t have the title of “husband” or “wife” then they are free to leave the relationship whenever they want to leave the relationship.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Huh?

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    • Anonymous says:

      No so simple when people have been together for 10+ years and have multiple joint assets and adding children to the mix must surely complicate it more. Some people choose to live with their common law spouse for a variety of reasons; choosing not to get married doesn’t always mean that they love their partner any less.

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, but the flip side is also true, people live together, acquiring assets together, for years and one (or maybe initially both) don’t intend for it to be permanent. this becomes a ‘gotcha’ clause where the relationship you thought you were in (both agreed at the start ‘this isn’t marriage’) suddenly is (a ‘common law marriage’) Now every four years you have to break up, like a roll-over period, or … gotcha.

        It will also bring some interesting wrinkles to some people’s ‘dependents’ on their insurance, etc. And I can’t wait for the ‘common law bigamy’ case in court in about 10 years time.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Marriage? What are we stuck in the 20th century or something? How old-school.

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