A: The law under the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act Chap 45:51.
Section 5(1) - a divorce petition cannot be presented until one year of marriage has passed, unless there are extreme circumstances.
Section 3 - the marriage must be at a stage where reconciliation is impossible.
Section 4(1) - The person initiating the divorce must prove:
(a) that the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;
(b) that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;
(c) that the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition;
(d) that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and the respondent consents to a decree being granted;
(e) that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition.
Section 4(2) - Empowers the court to investigate
Section 24(1) - A spouse may be entitled to maintenance especially when the other decides to leave his/her partner in a position that may impose a burden on society (benefits, etc.) i.e., disability or children. Most recent case at the time of posting: Ann-Marie Ramdhan v Peter Ramcharan, delivered on 22/06/2010.
If one spouse is overseas, Sections 62 - 62H lays down the law in that regard.
Contact one of the following to get a form:
72-74 South Quay
Port of Spain
32 Pro Queen Street
Note: In order to facilitate and respect the beliefs of other religions, there are separate laws governing Muslim and Hindu marriages and divorces in Trinidad and Tobago, which are:
-Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, Chap. 45:02
-Hindu Marriage Act, Chap. 45:03