DIANE PHILLIPS: Divorce: Uglier than necessary in The Bahamas

DIANE PHILLIPS on Divorce: Uglier than necessary in The Bahamas


DIVORCE is never pretty. It’s the courtroom culmination of living room or bedroom misery, the inevitable chapter of years of hurt, disloyalty, of insults hurled at one another, emotional abuse, neglect, or worse, physical abuse.

No, divorce is not pretty. But in The Bahamas, it is even uglier than it needs to be.

It is time to change the laws and catch up with the reality of cultural change.

With severely limited legal grounds for divorce, couples who simply agree to go their separate ways cannot simply go their separate ways, even if they have agreed on all the major sticking points – childcare responsibilities, financial obligations (or who gets what), a host of issues connected to separating the ties that bound for however long the marriage lasted.

Even if both parties agree on all other matters, they can only go their separate ways under three circumstances recognised as legal grounds – adultery, cruelty or desertion. The latter specifies that the party who deserted did so a minimum of two years prior to the filing and was out of the household for five years.

Every one of the legal grounds acceptable for pursuing a divorce in The Bahamas sets up a battlefield, creating and demanding the need for a perpetrator and a victim.