Divorce on Guam


 

This section provides information for those persons currently residing on Guam and who wish to pursue a divorce on the island.

 

If you are not living on Guam and are interested in learning about Guam 7-Day Residency Divorces, please click on the box entitled "Guam 7-day Residency Divorces" for a thorough explanation.


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Types of local divorces

There are three basic types of local Guam divorces: consent, default, and contested. A consent divorce is possible only when both parties agree upon all terms of the divorce and both are willing to sign all required documents. The couple will need to agree on such matters as the distribution of assets, debts, custody, and child support (if there are children) and spousal support.

A default judgment for divorce is entered against a party who fails to defend against a divorce. The Plaintiff is required to use his/her best efforts to locate a spouse and have them served with the Summons and Complaint for Divorce. If the opposing spouse lives on Guam, s/he must be personally served with the Complaint for Divorce. If the opposing spouse lives someplace other than Guam, s/he must be served notice of the pending divorce through the publication of the Summons in a Guam newspaper and by mailing the Summons and Complaint for Divorce to the last known mailing address. Assuming the judge is convinced that best efforts were used to give the other spouse notice of the divorce proceedings and the spouse failed to respond, then the judge may grant the divorce. Default divorces are most commonly used when a spouse lives someplace other than Guam and does not file anything with the court.

A contested divorce occurs when the parties cannot agree on all issues and they go to court to have the judge make the final decisions.  A default divorce will become a contested divorce if the opposing spouse actually files a response to the Complaint for Divorce.  In deciding which approach is best, you should keep the following in mind. Guam is a community property jurisdiction. This means that under most circumstances the judge will divide the property and debts down the middle. If the grounds of mental and/or physical cruelty or adultery are proven, the judge can grant an unequal distribution of assets and debts, but is not required to do so.  Be forewarned though, if your case goes to a full trial, the process will be slow and expensive. I highly encourage clients to resolve all the issues whenever possible. You might not love the final agreement, but if you can at least live with it this is probably much preferred to a lengthy and expensive contested divorce. Trying to reach an agreement is especially important when children are involved.  

You may need to discuss the specifics of your case with me to determine which approach is most appropriate for your situation.


Do I qualify for a local Guam divorce"?

The answer is "yes" if either you or your spouse has resided on Guam for at least 90 days prior to filing the divorce.  If not, you will have to wait until one of you has resided on Guam for 90 consecutive days.  However, if you have been residing on Guam for at least 7 days and both parties agree with the divorce, you may qualify for a Guam 7-day residency divorce.

How long will my divorce take?

Again, this depends on the type of divorce. For consent divorces the process usually takes 3 to 6 weeks once the finalized documents are filed with the courthouse. Please keep in mind that the Guam Superior Court has seven judges. We are never sure which judge will be assigned to a case since cases are assigned on a revolving basis. Because each judge is responsible for setting his/her court calendar and since some of the judges' staffs are faster at processing requests for hearings than others, hearing dates can vary.

Default divorces usually take from about 6 to 10 weeks to conclude. This is because once the Summons is published in the newspaper, we must wait at least 30 days to file for a hearing date. After that we must wait for the hearing date to be calendared, and again wait for the actual hearing day. Much depends on the efficiency of the judge's staff, and the availability of a hearing date on the judge's calendar.


How much will a local divorce cost?

As you can imagine, it depends on the type of divorce you ultimately choose. A consent divorce with no settlement agreement or children is $995 plus $320 court fees for a total of $1,315.  Notary fees are extra.  A consent divorce with a settlement agreement and/or with children is $1,295 plus $320 court fees for a total of $1,615.  Notary fees are extra.   The legal fee for a default divorce is $1,750. Other costs, such a court filing fees, newspaper ad, certified mailing, and courier services will run approximately $600.   Full payment is due before any paperwork is prepared for any type of divorce.  I am not accepting contested divorces at this time.


How can I get started with my divorce case?

Simply click on the appropriate Local Guam worksheet and complete the form. It is important that you fill the worksheet out completely. Once you have completed the worksheet, call my office at 472-8472 and set up an appointment for a consultation.  The consultation fee is $75 for up to 30 minutes.  Be sure to bring the worksheet with you.  Without a completed worksheet, I will not be able to meet with you.  >Click here to get started with a worksheet


LEGAL DISCLAIMER

This explanation sheet is provided for general information only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. You should discuss the specifics of your situation with a reputable attorney prior to taking any legal action. Neither this site nor anyone associated with this site shall be held liable for the use of the information contained in this document or for any decisions made based on the information provided herein.
 

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