Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Laws of Eve | Seven simple Q&A

Published:Monday | August 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM

During the 12 years I have published these articles, I have been asked many questions. Below, I will list and indicate the answers to seven of those common questions:

1. How can I know if I am divorced or not, or, how can I know the status of my divorce proceedings?

Only the Supreme Court of Judicature of Jamaica has jurisdiction to handle divorces in Jamaica, so enquiries should be made in the Family Registry at the Supreme Court.

2. How can I know if a will has been probated or a grant of Letters of Administration has been made in an estate?

Checks can be made in the Probate Registry at the Supreme Court or in the Parish Court for the parish in which the deceased person resided at the time of his or her death to find out whether a grant of Probate or Letters of Administration has been made in an estate. If the person died without leaving behind a will, the Administrator General's Department may also be able to provide assistance.

3. What should I do if I have been threatened or actually suffered abuse at the hands of my romantic partner?

Whether you reside with the person or not, you may follow these steps - (1) report the matter to the police, (2) seek medical treatment, if necessary, and (3) go to the Family Court (in parishes in which there is a Family Court) or to the Parish Court of the parish in which you reside to request a protection or occupation order under the Domestic Violence Act.

4. Where should I go if I am seeking custody of, or access to, my child?

You will require a copy of the child's birth certificate to prove that you are the parent of the child, and you may commence proceedings in the family or parish courts, or in the Supreme Court.

5. Where should I go if I am seeking spousal or child support/maintenance?

If you are seeking maintenance, only you must go to the family or parish courts to get a maintenance order under the Maintenance Act. (If maintenance is sought during divorce or matrimonial property proceedings, or along with other remedies, such as custody, access, the claim may be filed in the Supreme Court).

6. Do I need to get a Deed Poll in order to revert to the use of my maiden name after I get divorced?

No. Most institutions will only require you to produce a copy of the Decree Absolute and sign a declaration stating the name by which you wish to be known before allowing you to recommence the use of your maiden name after getting divorced.

7. Will the name of the father of my child be inserted on the child's birth certificate?

In the case of an unmarried mother, the father's name will not be inserted on the birth certificate if he is not present at the time of registration of the birth of the child. In the case of a married mother, her husband's name will automatically be inserted as the name of the father of the child on the child's birth certificate, whether he was present at the time of registration of the birth of the child or not.

- Sherry Ann McGregor is a partner and mediator in the firm of Nunes Scholefield DeLeon & Co. If you have other simple legal questions and wish to have them answered, please send those questions to lawsofeve@gmail.com or lifestyle@gleanerjm.com. You may also follow me on twitter @lawsofeve.