Seeking divorce without involving lawyers

| 22/05/2016

My spouse and I want to divorce. It’s a very amicable agreement and we have decided who gets what with no arguments. Can you please tell us how we can get through this without ending up giving all our money to lawyers or letting them manufacture unpleasantness that does not exist?

Auntie’s answer: For your situation, there is a free legal resource that can help you. In addition, there are options for couples who are dealing with a more complicated and contentious split, which I will outline.

This information comes thanks to an official in the Judicial Administration.

Couples who are able to keep the situation friendly and straightforward should be able to manage the whole process themselves. And, as I have mentioned in another column (see Need legal advice for contested will), the official suggested you seek help through the free Legal Befrienders Service, which is offered by the Family Resource Centre at this website.

He explained that mediation is really designed for those who have been unable to reach agreement but would like to be able to do so. That doesn’t seem necessary in your case but if you want to look at that option, he suggested checking out the Cayman Islands Association of Mediators & Arbitrators, which is an independent, non-profit organisation that promotes dispute resolution. Here is the link to the website, which includes information on both mediation and arbitration, along with the names of people in Cayman who perform those services and even a sample mediation agreement.

You may be glad to hear that mediators do not have to be lawyers, though I do not know how much this service costs.

In addition, plans are in the works to set up a court-initiated mediation process (see Court takes steps to mediate in family disputes) and the Judicial Administration should soon be releasing more details about this service, which will be offered through the courts as a way to resolve issues such as divorce and other family conflicts.

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Whoever put in that advert is doing some major fleecing. I got an uncontested divorce for $2500 but involved children so it wasn’t just a clear cut divorce. There’s nothing simple in a divorce that costs $7500.

  2. Cho King Often says:

    Interesting to see that a “simple divorce” advert was recently run in the local newspaper offering an “uncontested divorce” for about CI$7500.00 up. Having experienced this kind of divorce TWICE in the US, my total cost was US$150 for the first and US$250 for the second. It was handled by a “divorce clinic” in a local shopping centre and the increased cost was due to the court filing fee having been raised over a period of 10 years. The documents filed were common “boilerplate,” fill in the blanks and get notarized fare. The actual divorce was granted without either party even appearing in court! The divorce clinic charged a $75 fee, which was included in the total cost! Current cost for the clinic (I checked) is $100 fee and $400 court cost.

    The exorbitant cost for any kind of legal action in Cayman is unbelievable. If I ever do it again (not likely!) a “no-fault” divorce will take place within the same US jurisdiction and probably cost about US$500 now (both parties combined!). As someone who has had to retain legal counsel locally before, I can attest to the extremely high cost for a simple matter. It cost me over CI$1000 to have 2 letters written to a miscreant who eventually gave up their fraudulent actions and simply went away empty handed. Problem is, the disputed amount was less than HALF the cost of dealing with the matter! Once the courts became involved, it required a legal response, costing far more than the disputed amount. Case dismissed, but at what cost?