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Cheating hubby says I'm not his responsibility - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Cheating hubby says I'm not his responsibility

Dear Mrs Macaulay,

I got married to a man 12 years ago. He lives and works in the Turks & Caicos. Usually he would come home on his vacation and everything was going well until 2016 when he got a child out of marriage. As a young Christian I forgave him and accepted the child and continued our marriage. Things changed after a while because he continued to cheat. I asked for a divorce, and he refused.

Another child came in the picture and it has been two years that he hasn't given me anything. He told me that I am not his responsibility; his children are his responsibility.

I met him in the Turks & Caicos and he moved me to Jamaica where I am living now. We also bought property in Jamaica. In September last year he filed for divorce and each time I ask about it I can't get an answer. What must I do?

Your letter relates the circumstances of so many women who have been hoodwinked by their husbands and who feel constrained to suffer in silence and accept the fruits of the husbands' infidelity. The husbands give no thought to the destruction of their marriages and family lives with their wives and of their children (if any); or of the pain they inflict on these persons to whom they owe fidelity, respect and care. Yet, the wives forgive them and prepare to and do go on with their marriages, then tattered of course.

I note that when his infidelity continued, you asked for a divorce and he refused. I do not understand why you asked him for a divorce, rather than inform him that you were going to divorce him! It is not legally or morally required to have your spouse's agreement for you to obtain a divorce. You say that he filed for a divorce in September last year but that each time you ask him about it he does not give you an answer. This is very strange. You did not say how you know that he actually filed a petition for divorce. You did not say whether you and your husband had separated and had before September last year lived separate and apart for a period of 12 months because your marriage had irretrievably broken down. You have not said whether you were served with his petition and supporting processes. You have not stated whether you and he have any children and whether they are residing with you here in Jamaica. You have not stated whether the property you and he bought in Jamaica is registered in your joint names or not, but I assume this is the premises you and he occupied as man and wife and that it's your family home.

Let me answer what you must do to ascertain what the position is about the petition he allegedly filed last September. You may go to the Supreme Court Registry at King and Barry Street, Kingston, and inform the reception/security at the door that you need to check the progress or otherwise of your divorce. They will direct you to the correct window and there you will explain to the clerk why you are there. If you were in fact served with papers, you can show them your copy and say that you need to know what is happening. If you were not served with a copy, you should tell the clerk that your husband told you or he is supposed to have filed a petition for a divorce in September last year, give his full name as it appears on your marriage certificate, and a computer search can be done and you shall be told if, indeed, he did file a petition. If he did, you should request a copy of it and you should take it to a lawyer to check to see if he met all the legal requirements for such an application. You should check whether there is on the file an Affidavit of Service. If there is and you have not been served, point this out to the clerk. You really must, if he has filed and not served you or even did so, go and obtain the services of a lawyer because you need to have a legal representative act for you in several ways.

The first is for you to know about the legal and factual veracity of his petition for divorce; the second is to make an application for you for maintenance (and for your children, if any) and possibly applications for custody and care and control of your children; and the third is to act for you regarding your 50 per cent interest in the property you and he purchased here. You are entitled in fact and in law to be maintained by him in the manner to which you were accustomed to during your marriage. You are also entitled to obtain one-half interest of the value of the premises acquired during your marriage.

These issues, I am sure, would have to be dealt with by the court, as your husband has made clear that left to his own devices, he has no respect for his legal obligations as the law directs.

I really urge you to retain the services of a lawyer to act for you. In fact, the lawyer can start by doing the search in the Supreme Court Registry for your husband's alleged divorce petition and then check and deal with any questionable assertions in the documents filed. Surely, you must agree that you cannot be too careful with what a man such as your husband may have done to obtain what he wants and which may require a legal response on your behalf.

For goodness sake, fight for what you are due and what is right. As a Christian woman, you must understand the need to fight for a righteous conclusion.

I hope I have answered your query and I wish you the very best.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.

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