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Time periods to note

Published:Monday | April 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Sherry-Ann McGregor is an attorney-at-law and mediator.

Getting married

Persons who are at least 16 years of age are entitled to get married in Jamaica; but only persons who are at least 18 years old may do so without consent.

Time to solemnise marriage

According to section 27 of the Marriage Act, a marriage must be solemnised in the presence of a marriage officer and two witnesses between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Getting divorced

A person who has been married for at least two years and separated for at least one year is entitled to file a petition to dissolve a marriage in Jamaica. However, in special cases, the Court may permit a petition to be filed before two years have elapsed.

Writing a will

All persons who are at least 18 years of age or older, and of sound mind and mental capacity, are entitled to prepare a will.

A person who had a will before he or she got married, should prepare a new will immediately after the marriage, because the old will becomes void upon marriage.

Making an accident claim

If a person is injured in an accident, he or she is entitled to commence a claim within six years after the date of that accident.

Making a fatal accident claim

If a person dies in an accident, his near relations must commence a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act within three years after the date of the accident or his personal representatives may make a claim under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act within six years after the date of the accident.

Registering a birth

If a child is born in a public or private hospital, the chief resident officer must send a certificate concerning the birth of that child to the registrar of the district in which the child is born within 14 days of the birth.

If a child is born at home, the registrar of the district must receive the information within 42 days of the birth of the child.

If a midwife delivers the child, the registrar must be notified within 48 hours of the birth of the child.

Registering a death

If a person dies at home, the registrar of the district must be notified within five days of the death. If the death is not registered within 12 months after it occurred, it can only be done with the consent of the registrar general.

Time to be buried

It is widely accepted among the public, including several members of the legal profession, that the body of a deceased person must be interred before 6 p.m. If it is contained in a statute, it is a well preserved secret, which I have not been able to unearth. However, there is some reference in the Bible and, based on one English case, there is a duty within Jewish society to bury the dead before sunset. The question is, "Is it really law?"

Time to reopen grave

Except for purposes of exhumation, no grave can be reopened within a period of 14 years after the date of the burial of the body therein. This is based on section 41 of the Kingston and Saint Andrew (Cemeteries) Act Regulation.

Sherry-Ann McGregor is a partner and mediator with the firm Nunes, Scholefield, DeLeon & Co. Send feedback and questions to or