Blog Posts

Getting Divorced in The Bahamas: The Basics

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | May 02, 2018 | 32 Comments

If you are considering whether to file for divorce in The Bahamas, learn the basics about the divorce process first. Separating and ending a marriage can be extremely painful for the whole family. Going through an unfamiliar court proceeding could make it worse, unless you know what to expect.

In the Bahamas, you may seek either a judicial separation or a divorce. A judicial separation may be sought on the same grounds as for a divorce, described below. In contrast to divorced spouses, legally separated spouses do not have to live in the same home but are still legally married – the separation does not dissolve the marriage. However, it does effectively dissolve inheritance rights for the husband in the marriage from the date of the judicial separation. See Matrimonial Causes Act.

A spouse seeking a divorce files a petition with the court, requesting a divorce on one or more grounds including:

  • adultery
  • cruelty
  • desertion for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before filing the petition
  • living separately for a continuous period of at least five years immediately before filing the petition
  • sexual relations with an animal
  • rape by the husband

When a claim of adultery is made, the court may include the adulterer as a respondent to the application. Also, Bahamian courts do not grant divorces for irreconcilable differences, as do courts in some other jurisdictions.

After filing an application for divorce, the court will review the alleged facts and the grounds for the sought divorce, usually at a hearing. The court looks for any improper motives by the spouses or any acceptance of the respondent's behavior by the petitioner. The court also reviews any counter-charges made by the respondent against the petitioner.

If the court thinks that there is a reasonable likelihood of reconciliation in the marriage, it can stop the divorce proceedings so that the spouses can attempt to reconcile.  The court must also satisfy itself that suitable arrangements are made for any minor children of the divorcing couple prior to making an order to dissolve the marriage.

To find out more about divorce law in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.


Willamar Reply

Posted Apr 20, 2019 at 08:33:18

Good information. The public need this type of awareness

Agnes Jolly Reply

Posted Apr 23, 2019 at 08:36:57

Good after Judge, in the case of a couple being married male Bahamian citizen and female a foreigner, they have lived separated lives for many years. Search to continue local the other was useless. Can you still file with out the person being present? The person may have left the country.

Wilbertha Leathen Reply

Posted Jun 15, 2019 at 12:59:14

Hello how do i go about gettin a divorce?

Dwayne Rahming Reply

Posted Aug 14, 2019 at 01:54:47

Is it possible for the petitioner to be awarded their divorce without the respondent’s cooperation?

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Aug 23, 2019 at 09:49:28

You must serve the respondent with the divorce papers but they do not need to take any part in the proceedings.

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Aug 23, 2019 at 09:56:22

If you are in The Bahamas, you should contact a Bahamian divorce attorney who can best advise you on your particular circumstances.

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Aug 23, 2019 at 10:05:10

So long as one party to the marriage resides in The Bahamas you can file for a divorce here. However, you must serve the divorce papers on the other party even if they are not in The Bahamas.

Inza Major Reply

Posted Dec 08, 2019 at 14:47:20

When filing for a divorce do i still need a lawyer even though we have no ties together only a off age child and leaglly separated for 8yrs or morè

John rolle Reply

Posted Jan 14, 2020 at 13:42:34

Can you file for a divorce without a lawyer?

Janette Derby-Green Reply

Posted Mar 09, 2020 at 21:06:53

I now live in the USA and I have discovered that my husband no longer lives at the address and I cannot locate him how would I proceed with my divorce in the Bahamas if he cannot be located for the serving?

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Apr 12, 2020 at 08:46:20

Yes you can file without a lawyer. However, you may need the assistance of a lawyer to help you prepare the documents and explain the process once the documents are filed.

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Apr 12, 2020 at 08:54:07

If you know what documents you need to file, how to prepare them and what the process is once you have filed the documents, then you do not need a lawyer.

Kimoy Reply

Posted May 03, 2020 at 07:37:39

Good morning. I now reside in the US and have already served my husband the divorce papers which he has refused to sign even though we’ve been separated for a number of years now. How do I continue from here?

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted May 03, 2020 at 13:06:00

Where did you file your divorce papers? If you filed in the US then you will need your US lawyer to tell you what to do next. If you filed in The Bahamas your lawyer here can tell you what your next steps should be.

Ana Reply

Posted May 31, 2020 at 06:49:29

I am from Ecuador and my husband from the United States. We got married in the Bahamas and now he wants a divorce. Currently he lives in his country (United States) and I live in Ecuador for reasons that the United States has not approved marriage and immigration issues. Should we divorce under the laws of the Bahamas even if we are foreigners due to having married in the Bahamas?

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Jul 20, 2020 at 10:13:22

If neither you nor your husband resides or is domiciled in the Bahamas, you will not be able to divorce under the laws of the Bahamas.

Eliana Reply

Posted Dec 22, 2020 at 02:52:30

I am from Colombia, I got married in the Bahamas I never consume the marriage, he is from the USA, I never seem him again after the day we sighed papers. How can I get divorce ? Since neither of us live in Bahamas.

Bri Reply

Posted Dec 28, 2020 at 15:16:35

Hi I was wondering how to go about a divorce or an annulment. My husband and I only were married for four months but as far as I know none of the grounds for an annulment or divorce have been met just simply an act of not wanting to be together anymore. Can we get a divorce on those grounds?

Monique Rolle Reply

Posted Dec 31, 2020 at 08:44:19

Live in Bahamas. Received a decree Nisi in 2016 and did not complete decree Absolut and decided to try again in 2019. However relationship not worked out and still live separately from 2013. Do we have to refile for divorce.?

Ray Goodman Reply

Posted Feb 21, 2021 at 08:58:05

If we have nothing together absolutely nothing besides a daughter .. It shouldn’t be a long process right? My daughter is with me now. He gets her on the weekend…

Keri Reply

Posted Mar 24, 2021 at 15:01:30

What steps can I take to get a divorce on the grounds of abandonment (incarceration) infedilty and abuse?

Harold Williams Reply

Posted Mar 28, 2021 at 09:48:57

Where do you send the petition for divorce in the Bahamas

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Mar 28, 2021 at 10:01:36

The petition must be filed in the Supreme Court and then it must be served personally on the other spouse and any other parties.

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Mar 28, 2021 at 10:03:30

You should consult a divorce attorney who can advise you what steps to take in your particular case and circumstances.

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Mar 28, 2021 at 11:05:38

A number of factors will determine the length of the process. For example, the grounds for the divorce, whether the divorce is contested/uncontested and whether the parties can amicably agree on the custody and maintenance arrangements for the welfare of the minor child.

Christella Burrows Reply

Posted Sep 13, 2021 at 00:33:47

Can I get a divorce without going to court once both parties agree to the terms?

Leave a Comment