Facing the end of a marriage can be emotionally and legally complex. This is especially true in Malaysia, where the process of divorce has its own specific procedures and regulations. This guide aims to simplify the divorce process in Malaysia, providing you with a clear understanding of the steps involved, your rights and responsibilities.
Grounds for Divorce
In Malaysia, there are 2 main ways to obtain a divorce:
- Mutual Consent: This is the fastest and most straightforward option. Both spouses must agree to end the marriage and have reached a settlement on all matters related to child custody, property division, and financial support. No reason for divorce is needed if the divorce is mutual.
- Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage: If mutual consent is not possible, you can file for divorce based on grounds that prove the marriage has broken down irretrievably. These grounds include:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Deserted for more than 2 years
- Live in separation for more than 2 years
Steps in the Divorce Process
- Consult a Lawyer: Engaging a qualified divorce lawyer is crucial. They can guide you through the legal complexities, ensure your rights are protected, and represent you in court.
- Attend Counselling (only if the divorce is not mutual): This requirement under the law can help explore reconciliation possibilities and prepare you for the emotional impact of divorce.
- File a Divorce Petition: Your divorce lawyer will draft and file a petition for divorce with the Court. This document outlines the grounds for divorce, proposed settlements for child custody, property division, and financial support.
- Court Hearing: The court will hear both sides of the case and assess the evidence presented. If the court is satisfied with the grounds for divorce and the proposed settlement is fair, a decree nisi will be granted.
- Decree Nisi: This is an interim order that allows reconciliation that lasts 3 months. After 3 months, the decree nisi becomes absolute, finalizing the divorce.
- Update of Divorce Status: Your divorce lawyer will update Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) Malaysia on your divorce status.
- Child Custody: If you have children, reaching an amicable agreement on their custody is essential. The court will prioritize the best interests of the child when making a custody decision.
- Property Division: Assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly between the spouses. This may involve negotiations, mediation, or court orders.
- Financial Support: One spouse may be entitled to financial support from the other, depending on their income and needs under the law in Malaysia.
By understanding the legal process and seeking professional legal guidance, you can navigate this challenging time with confidence and focus on rebuilding your life. Remember, you are not alone in this journey.
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