Guam Divorce Law
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Divorce Residency Essentials to Get Divorce in Guam
One of the spouses must be a resident of Guam for 90 days before filing for dissolution of marriage. The dissolution of marriage should be filed in the county where the Petitioner resides. In addition, there is a 30-day waiting period after filing before a dissolution of marriage will be granted.
Reasons for Divorce in Guam
There is really only one reason for getting a divorce in Guam. The legal ground for getting a divorce in Guam is:
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.
Custody of the Children in Guam
Joint or sole custody is awarded based on the best interests of the child and upon con-sideration of the following factors:
- The preference of the child;
- The wishes of the parents and any proposed parenting plan submitted by both parents;
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- Any history of child or spouse abuse;
- The child’s need for a continuing relationship with both parents;
- Both parents’ willingness and ability to perform parental obligations;
- The intention of either parent to relocate his or her residence;
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent; and
- The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members.
Domestic violence against a child is a bar to custody. No preference is to be given because of parent’s sex, age, or financial status, or the child’s age or sex. There is now a legislative encouragement of joint custody or arrangements which will encourage the parents to both share in the decision-making responsibility of caring for the child. An award of joint custody must include a joint custody plan. A parent not granted custody is entitled to reasonable visitation.
Property Distribution in Guam
Guam is an “equitable distribution” state. Each spouse retains his or her separate property obtained prior to the marriage, including any gifts or inheritances. In addition, any property exchanged for separate property or interest obtained from holding separate property remains as separate. Commingled property does not become marital solely by virtue of the act of commingling. Marital property (all property acquired after the marriage whether held jointly or individually, except if:
- Gift or inheritance;
- Received in exchange for non-marital property;
- An increase in non-marital property; or
- Property excluded by a written agreement between the spouses) is divided after a consideration of the following factors:
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker;
- The value of each spouse’s property;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective;
- The conduct of the spouses during the marriage generally and as it relates to the disposition of their property;
- The desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse having custody of the children; and
- Any custodial arrangements for children. .
Guam Spousal Support Guidelines
Either spouse may be awarded maintenance if that spouse can show:
- An inability to support himself or herself and
- A lack of sufficient property (including his or her share of any marital property) to provide for his or her own needs;
- That the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate for that spouse not to seek outside employment.
The following factors are considered:
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment and that spouse’s future earning capacity;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking support;
- The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to such spouse and such spouse’s ability to meet his or her needs independently;
- The age of the spouses;
- The physical and emotional conditions of the spouses;
- The obligations, assets, and separate property of the spouses;
- The comparative earning capacities of each spouse; and
- The conduct of the spouses during the marriage.
The court may order the payments to be made through the circuit clerk.
Guam Child Support Guidelines
Either or both parents may be ordered to provide child support. Marital misconduct is not to be considered as a factor. The following factors are considered:
- The child’s custody arrangements;
- The financial resources and needs of the child;
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;
- The physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child; and
- The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent.
A parent may be required to provide health insurance coverage for any children if such coverage is available at a reasonable cost from an employer, union, or other organization. There are official child support guidelines contained in the statute which are presumed to be correct unless shown to be unjust or inappropriate under the particular circumstances of the case. The court may order the payments to be made through the circuit clerk.
The court can delay a divorce proceeding for 30 to 180 days and suggest that the spouses seek counseling.