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Thinking about Getting a Divorce? The First Steps

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Oct 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

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If you are thinking about getting a divorce, now is the time to figure out your first steps. Some advance planning and legal advice can go far in making your divorce proceeding smoother and less contentious.

  1. Get a Lawyer Now

Do not wait until after you tell your spouse that you want a divorce to get a lawyer. It may be important for you to gather as much information as you can about your spouse's assets before the divorce petition is filed.  Receiving legal advice on dividing up assets and child support before you make this major life decision will help you in moving forward. For example, legal advice could inform someone of their need to gather evidence, child support and maintenance obligations, the issues they may have with property division, and the potential court battle ahead. If you already have a lawyer, you are one step ahead in getting these matters presented to your best advantage.

  1. Do You Have Grounds for a Divorce?

Your lawyer can advise you about whether you qualify for a divorce under Bahamian matrimonial causes laws. There are specific grounds that you need to prove before the court will grant you a divorce, including adultery by your spouse, cruel treatment by your spouse, desertion by your spouse for two years or more, continuously living separate and apart for five years, and more.

In addition, you may qualify for a judicial separation for the above-listed reasons. If you are not sure about getting a divorce and completely ending the marriage, you could consider a separation instead. However, getting a separation may have significant legal consequences too.

  1. What Do You Want from a Divorce?

In speaking to your lawyer, you may realize that you want certain results from getting a divorce. Think about what you want from the process, and whether there is room for you to work with your spouse on matters such as the division of property. Your lawyer may tell you to temper your expectations, because there are no guarantees when you start a legal proceeding. The judge may make a different order about child custody or support than you wanted. Your spouse may react much differently than you expected.

  1. Protect Your Assets

Talk to your lawyer about protecting your assets during a divorce. You may have certain assets that your spouse may not be entitled to share in. In addition, you may need to make changes to your estate plan if you no longer want your ex-spouse to inherit or be a trustee or beneficiary of any life insurance you may have.

To find out more about divorce 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.

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