Garcia v. Garcia – Case Brief Summary (Virgin Islands)

In Garcia v. Garcia, 59 V.I. 758, 766-67 (V.I. 2013), the Court determined that a home would not qualify as a marital homestead if a party abandoned it before filing for divorce. 59 V.I. at 770.

Accordingly, the Court stated that "the existence of a marital homestead is a jurisdictional requirement." Id.

In Garcia, regarding the question of whether a marital homestead existed, we ultimately held that the Superior Court had failed to issue sufficient factual findings or conclusions of law to justify its conclusion that it had jurisdiction over the home which the former spouses had once shared. 59 V.I. at 771-72.

Specifically, the trial court made no finding regarding whether Edna Garcia's absence from the home for almost four years, after discovering that her former husband had engaged in an extramarital affair, constituted abandonment of the marital homestead. Moreover, during the trial, she was never asked to explain her absence from the home. Id. at 764.