You both thought that your marriage was made in heaven and that you would have each other’s back in any given circumstances but however life did not go the way you thought…
Once you have decided that your marriage has broken down and that marital life is no longer possible, it is time to retain the services of an Attorney and a Barrister to initiate divorce procedures in the Supreme Court of Mauritius.
Role of Legal Representatives and how the Court deals with a
The role of the attorney is to draft the necessary paper work in a brief (Petition of Divorce) based on all the necessary information that will be provided during conferencing (meeting to discuss reasons for the divorce). The first time that you will have to attend the Supreme Court (Family Division) accompanied by your attorney is called the Presentation (term used with reference to the Petition that will be before the Honourable Judge for the 1st time).
On this very day the Honourable Judge will ascertain from the parties present whether there is hope of reconciliation as this is what the procedure demands. Once that the parties have confirmed in Court that their marriage has broken down the Supreme Court will fix the case to another date when the Petition will be heard (Merits).
On the other hand, the role of the Barrister is to make sure that before the Petition of Divorce is before the Honourable Judge, that all the averments and documents in the brief is genuine and also to add any further information that the client may not have raised with the Attorney. Furthermore, the Barrister will be present on the day that the petition of divorce will be heard (Merits) as he/she will be the one to plead in court.
Good to know
You have to attend Court at least twice for a divorce proceeding but however you may have to come to Court on several additional sittings if :-
- Either party fails to attend Court;
- The petition of divorce has not been served on the opposing party;
- New material facts have been brought to the attention of the legal representatives and this must be included in the petition of divorce;
- the Supreme Court is closed due to special circumstances such as cyclones.
On what grounds can a divorce be pronounced by the Supreme Court?
In Mauritius a decree of divorce may be pronounced on the ground of:
- mutual consent ( provided that the marriage is more than 24 months); or
- acceptation of the principle of breakdown of the marriage (rupture du mariage); or
- fault (one of the spouses commits a serious mistake); or
- the spouses are no more living together (more than 3 years)
The Honourable Judge of the Supreme Court also has a discretion to pronounce a divorce on the ground that both parties have a shared responsibility after hearing the version of both parties.
After that the divorce has been pronounced in Court, the decision will be provisional for 3 months after which the decision will then become permanent.
What other issues that the Supreme Court (Family Division) will usually adjudicate upon?
- Alimony for the spouse (financial contribution)
- Custody of minor child.
- Right of visit and Right of stay of minor child. ( modality of arrangements between parties or decision of the Honourable Judge).