Matrimonial

The Supreme Court deals with all applications for divorce, judicial separation, nullity of marriage and ancillary relief. All matrimonial proceedings are governed by the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance and the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 (as amended).

Divorce

Divorce is the permanent legal dissolution of a marriage. You can get a divorce if you have been married for at least one year and your relationship has permanently broken down. You must satisfy the court of certain "grounds" before you can obtain a divorce. More details about the information you need to provide and the process for applying for a divorce can be found in the leaflet "Divorce: commencing proceeings." 

To obtain a divorce you or your partner must be permanently resident in the Falkland Islands on the date when you apply or either of you must have been living in the Falkland Islands throughout the period of one year before that date.

In addition to the guidance leaflet "Divorce: commencing proceedings" the Courts and Tribunals Service has also compiled a leaflet for those who have been served with divorce papers entitled "Divorce: responding to the petition".

The forms required to apply for a divorce can be found at the links at the bottom of this page and may be obtained in hard copy from the court office.

Judicial separation

Most people whose marriage has broken down will proceed to divorce. There are some people, however, who do not wish to end their marriage, for example, for religious reasons. In those circumstances an application for judicial separation may be made.  Judicial separation is the removal of the obligation between the parties of a marriage to live together (cohabit). An order for judicial separation will not legally end a marriage but, while the separation continues, it will end any entltlement that a spouse has under an intestate estate. You must still satisfy the court of the same grounds as in a divorce, but the court does not need to be satisfied that the relationship has broken down permanently.

To obtain a decree of judicial separation you or your partner must be permanently resident in the Falkland Islands on the date when you apply or have been living in the Falkland Islands throughout the period of one year before that date.

In order to apply for judicial separation you will need to file with the court a petition, a copy of which can be found below. A hard copy of the form may be obtained from the court office.

Nullity

Nullity of a marriage declares the marriage null and void, which is different from a divorce and judicial separation, both of which terminate a marriage. The grounds upon which you can obtain an anulment are also different. These are set out in the Matrimonal Causes Ordinance and cover such instances as where a party did not consent to the marriage.

The effect of anulment is the same as divorce and allows the parties to remarry thereafter.

Ancillary Relief

An application for ancillary relief may be made at any point following the issuing of matrimonal proceedings. Ancillary relief deals with financial arrangements between the parties and arrangements for the children. The court may make one or more orders to create a "package" to ensure that the parties to any matrimonial proceedings and any children of the family are adequately provided and cared for. These may include such orders as one off lump sum payments or regular payments to either party. The court will request and consider the income of the parties and any property and business interests etc that they may own in coming to its decision.

The court is unable to advise individuals as to their rights or merits of any applications they may wish to make. Should you be considering making an application for ancillary relief you are advised to seek independent legal advice.

 

The following forms are to be used in matrimonial applications to the Supreme Court. Hard copies of these forms may also be obtained from the court office.

Petition

Statement of arrangements for children

Application for special procedure

Application for Decree Absolute