For non-Muslim couples, cross-border divorce is a possibility, but it can be a complex process in Malaysia. This article provides an overview of cross-border divorce in Malaysia for non-Muslims.
What is cross-border divorce?
Cross-border divorce is a divorce between spouses having different nationalities. In Malaysia, cross-border divorce is governed by the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.
When is a cross-border divorce possible in Malaysia?
A cross-border divorce is possible in Malaysia if the monogamous marriage is legally registered under the law (Malaysia or any other country), and the parties are domiciled in Malaysia.
What are the grounds for cross-border divorce in Malaysia?
There is only one ground for cross-border divorce in Malaysia: that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This must be proved on any one of the following facts:
- Adultery: If the spouse has cheated on you, and you cannot continue living with them as a result, you can file for divorce.
- Unreasonable behavior: If your spouse’s behavior is so bad that you cannot reasonably expect to live with them any longer, you can file for divorce. This could include things like physical or emotional abuse, addiction, or neglecting their responsibilities towards you or the family.
- Desertion: If your spouse has left you without a valid reason for at least two years, you can file for divorce.
- Separation: If you and your spouse have been living apart for at least two years, you can file for divorce.
What is the procedure for cross-border divorce in Malaysia?
- Joint Petition (Mutual Divorce)
If you and your spouse both want to get a divorce, you can file a joint petition with the court after two years of marriage. The court will then review your petition and make sure that both of you are freely consenting to the divorce and that there is a fair arrangement for the division of assets, alimony, and child custody. If the court is satisfied with these arrangements, it will grant you a divorce decree.
- Single Petition (Non-Mutual Divorce)
If there is no agreement on the divorce terms, either party may file a single petition with the court and provide the ground for divorce. The responding party may reply to the petition/defend his or her case.
The court will review and make decision accordingly before granting the divorce and making necessary order pertaining to the division of assets, alimony, and child custody after hearing or full trial.
In conclusion, cross-border divorce in Malaysia is a complex legal process and it is essential to consult with a divorce lawyer in Malaysia who can provide you with comprehensive legal advice and representation throughout the process.
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