The Matrimonial Causes Division of the Royal Court was established by the Matrimonial Causes Law (Guernsey), 1939. It is constituted by:
• a single Judge of Law, this being either the Bailiff, the Deputy Bailiff, a Judge of the Royal Court or a Lieutenant Bailiff qualified in law, sitting alone; or,
• a single Judge of Law sitting with four Jurats.
The Matrimonial Causes Division has jurisdiction on matters of divorce, judicial separation, annulments and dissolutions of marriages, and contentious judicial separations.
Judicial separations are made in the Royal Court with the consent of both parties and all financial and family matters are addressed within the Consent Order. This recognises that the parties are no longer living together, but does mean they cannot re-marry.
Divorce petitions must be filed through an Advocate. There are five different grounds for divorce:
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Separation for two years (with the consent of both parties)
• Separation for five years (without the consent of either party).
Sixty days must elapse before the provision order, known as the decree nisi, can be granted and then a further period of one month and one day must elapse before the final order, known as the decree absolute, can be granted.