A while back, I posted on how a Puerto Rico Supreme Court case disallowed the no-fault cause for divorce called “Irreparable Rupture”, which is the closest cause for Irreconcilable Differences the residents of Puerto Rico had to obtain a divorce.
Well, I’m glad to report that it’s back.
Law Number 192 of 2011 was approved, and with it, both Mutual Consent and Irreparable Rupture were added to the Puerto Rico Civil Code as two new causes for divorce.
Now, Mutual Consent was approved in 1978, many years ago, through another Supreme Court case, but it had never been officially adopted to the PR Civil Code. In fact, it only took the Puertorrican legislative branch 33 years to change the Civil Code. Not the quickest legislative response to a Supreme Court case, but it was finally added.
So, what’s the difference between Mutual Consent and Irreparable Rupture? Here’s the low down:
Mutual Consent is a co-joint petition filed by both spouses. Both spouses sign and file the petition together. It does not require serving a summons. All the details of the divorce, properties, debts and matters related to minors (custody, parental visitation and child support) must be included. This means that ALL the properties and debts, and their division, MUST be outlined in the petition.
The case goes to one hearing, and if there are minors involved, the child support must be reviewed by a court examiner. The judgment that is issued distributes and disposes of all the communal property and once 30 days have passed since the court issues the judgment, the marriage is dissolved. Both spouses return to being single again.
Irreparable Rupture is an adversative lawsuit. It requires only one spouse to file a lawsuit against the other spouse, and the filing spouse must serve the summons to the other spouse. No specific reason for a divorce is required. The filing spouse only needs to want to divorce the other spouse, and therefore cannot be obligated to remain married. Both parties do not need to agree to get a divorce.
Once the filing spouse (called the Plaintiff), serves the summons, the other spouse (called the Defendant), has 30 days to accept or deny the filing. Not wanting to get divorced is not a reason to oppose the lawsuit.
Once the 30 days are up, a hearing will be scheduled, and one that happens, the marriage is dissolved. Again, the only reason the Plaintiff needs is “Because I want to.”, and nothing can obligate that spouse to remain married.
All the other related matters, such as communal property, and matters pertaining minors, do not need to be included. They can be included, but are not required.
So, that changes everything. Before this, a spouse needed a specific reason to obtain a divorce. Now, a spouse only needs to want to not be married.