Family Court reports ‘rapid’ increase in divorces


The latest annual report released by Guyana’s Supreme Court of Judicature has noted a rapid increase in divorce matters being filed.

Faced with a backlog in filing these annual reports, the period being addressed is 2018 with comparisons to data from 2017. The 2018 report was laid in the National Assembly earlier this month.

While the Family Court saw an intake of 606 divorce cases in 2017, that figure almost doubled in 2018 and stood at 1, 129.

According to the report, “a rapid increase can be seen” with 523 cases above the previous year, representing a 46 per cent increase. Some 139 of these divorce cases were withdrawn or dismissed and a mere eight struck out and 456 concluded.

At the end of 2018, some 673 divorce matters were still pending.

These matters in the Family Court could be subdivided into divorce with custody (45 matters in 2018); divorce with maintenance (15 matters in 2018); divorce with access (22 cases in 2018); divorce with division of property (98 matters in 2018); and divorce with access and custody (30 cases in 2018).

It should be noted that the Family Court only became operational in 2016, eight years after plans were finalised for its establishment with two judges assigned.

That saw family law cases, like divorce and child custody, being concluded more speedily and removed the burden from the High Court.

Flowing from these matters, the court reported that some 240 children were forced to access child care facilities during the year 2018.

After years of dormancy, the operationalisation of the Family Court with the first case being heard in June 2016 was at the time a welcomed development.

The court is located in the High Court Compound in Georgetown.



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