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Filing for Divorce in Puerto Rico

Filing for Divorce in Puerto Rico

Getting a Divorce in Puerto Rico? Divorce Law Cheat Sheet for Puerto Rico


What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Puerto Rico?  
You must have lived in the commonwealth for at least one year before filing for divorce, unless the actions that led to the grounds for your divorce happened in Puerto Rico or while you or your spouse was living there. 

2. Does Puerto Rico have a waiting period?       
If you file on the grounds of “cruel treatment or grave injury” or abandonment for more than a year and you and your spouse have children, the court will hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether you and your spouse might reconcile. If either of you still wants a divorce, the court will go ahead and schedule a trial for your case. 

3. Does the commonwealth have grounds for divorce? 
Yes. In Puerto Rico, you may file for divorce based on these grounds: your spouse committed adultery — had an affair your spouse is in prison for a felony, unless he or she gets a suspended sentence your spouse is habitually drunk or addicted to drugs your spouse treats you cruelly or causes you severe injury your spouse has abandoned you and been gone for more than a year your spouse became incurably impotent after your marriage your spouse tried to corrupt your sons or to prostitute your daughters your spouse suggested prostituting you you and your spouse have been separated for more than two years your spouse is incurably insane and has been for more than seven years. This requires the testimony of two medical experts. You will be obligated to support your spouse.  

4. How does Puerto Rico determine the division of property?    
Without a prenuptial agreement, the division of your property will be up to the court. The court will equally divide all your community property — the property owned by both of you. Your separate property remains your own. The parent who is granted custody of your children will be allowed to have your family home as long as your children are minors, students or living with that parent because of a mental or physical disability. This includes all the things regularly used in your family home as well. '

5. Does Puerto Rico require mediation before a divorce is granted? 
Mediation is not required, though the court may order it in your case if you and your spouse disagree over child custody or visitation.

6. How does Puerto Rico determine child custody? 
In Puerto Rico, the court bases its decision only on the aspects of your specific case. The court will award custody of your children to the parent who, in the court’s view, is best suited to meet your child’s best interest. The other parent will be allowed to continue his or her relationship with your children to the extent that the court considers appropriate in your case.   The court will take into account any evidence of domestic abuse, you and your spouse’s conduct and possibly the wishes of your child in determining custody. 

7. How does the commonwealth calculate child support?      
Puerto Rico uses a set of state guidelines to determine child support. They are based on you and your spouse’s net incomes, total capital and property. If the guidelines would result in an unfair or inadequate child support order, however, the court will consider these factors in setting a different amount:

  • You, your spouse and your child’s financial resources.
  • Your child’s physical and emotional health and his or her educational abilities.
  • The lifestyle your child would have enjoyed if you and your spouse did not divorce.
  • How your taxes are affected by child support.
  • Any non-monetary contributions you or your spouse makes toward your child’s care.  

Your support order also will include the costs of health insurance for your child.   

8. How does Puerto Rico determine and calculate alimony?   
Alimony is not a given, but you or your spouse may request it. If you decide to seek alimony, the court will evaluate whether you have enough resources to get by, taking into consideration the following:

  • Any agreement between you and your spouse your age and health.
  • Your professional qualifications and how likely you are to find a job.
  • Your past and future responsibilities for your family.
  • Whether you assisted in your spouse’s commercial, industrial or professional activities.
  • How long you were married and lived together.
  • You and your spouse’s finances.
  • Any other factor the court considers relevant.   

Alimony ends if the court decides it is no longer necessary or if you remarry or live with someone. 

9. Is there a waiting period before remarriage in Puerto Rico? 
No, you are free to remarry after the court delivers the final judgment ending your marriage. But if you are a woman and decide to remarry within 30 days of your divorce, you’ll be required to prove that you’re not pregnant.


Puerto Rico’s divorce laws are online at http://michie.lexisnexis.com/puertorico/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=. 

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