Dear Mrs Macaulay,
My brother is in the process of getting a divorce in Jamaica from his wife who resides in the USA. I am aware of the lengthy process for a divorce in Jamaica, and would like to know if there is any way he can speed up the process for getting the decree nisi order approved by a judge. I have read online that an attorney could possibly attend open court instead of waiting for a judge to sign this in chambers. Is there any truth to this? His attorney has told me that this is not possible.
I am not sure what you mean by 'lengthy process' because the process itself is not. The time from filing to the grant of a decree nisi can stretch to several months of merely waiting, especially if an application is made for the proceedings to be dealt with on paper, without your brother appearing in court to give his evidence in support of his petition.
Since you read the information online that the matter can proceed in open court, that is the answer to your brother obtaining his decree nisi within a known period of time. So yes, his attorney can apply for the matter to be heard in open court and fix the date at the Civil Registry for the hearing when your brother can attend and give his evidence, and can have the grant of the decree nisi announced by the judge. Then he would have to wait for only six weeks after that to file for the decree absolute to be granted.
This is the short route I would suggest to your brother for obtaining his divorce, because the setting down for an open court hearing can be done quite quickly and with the certainty that on the date set for the hearing, the matter will be heard and completed by the grant of the decree nisi.
The 'on paper' process is more uncertain, as one does not know when the matter will be sent to a judge and when it will be dealt with, unless the attorney keeps checking with the registry.
So I suggest that he should have his lawyer apply for an open court proceeding, at which time your brother will give his evidence viva voce and have the decree nisi granted then and there. Then he can apply for his decree absolute six weeks after the grant of the nisi.
I trust that I have clarified the matter for you to inform your brother.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.