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Getting Divorced in The Bahamas: The Basics

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | May 02, 2018 | 8 Comments

Getting divorced in the bahamas the basics 460x260 c

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.

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