What are the requirements and good reasons for divorce? What is a joint petition? What is a contested divorce?

If you are a non-Muslim, you can get a divorce in Malaysia only through court proceedings. Your marriage must legally registered in Malaysia under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 [Act 164] which provides for a non-Muslim monogamous marriage.

There are two types of divorce in Malaysia:
  1. Uncontested divorce
    Where both parties to a marriage mutually agree to the divorce including but not limited to support, children and property issues, application for a divorce shall be made by way of joint petition.

    Section 52 of Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 [Act 164]

    52. Dissolution by mutual consent.

    If husband and wife mutually agree that their marriage should be dissolved they may after the expiration of two years from the date of their marriage present a joint petition accordingly and the court may, if it thinks fit, make a decree of divorce on being satisfied that both parties freely consent, and that proper provision is made for the wife and for the support, care and custody of the children, if any, of the marriage, and may attach such conditions to the decree of divorce as it thinks fit.

  2. Contested divorce
    Where either party to a marriage does not agree to the divorce or is not in agreement on certain or all issues of the divorce, application for a divorce shall be made by way of single petition.

Uncontested Divorce

  1. Reference to a Conciliatory Body or Marriage Tribunal of the National Registration Department of Malaysia 1 is not required.

  2. Before you can file a joint petition for a divorce, the following requirements must be fulfilled:
    1. Both of you must be domiciled or resident in Malaysia at the time when the divorce petition is presented.

    2. You must have been married at least two (2) years at the time you present your divorce petition, unless the court grants you special permission.

      This restriction against divorce is imposed to prevent impulsive or frivolous marriages, and also refusal to take responsibilities and pressures of marriage without attempt to effect a reconciliation.

      You may apply to court for such special permission but you must show that your case is one of exceptional circumstances or hardship suffered.

      In determining the application the judge shall have regards to the interests of any child of the marriage and to the question whether there is a reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties during the specified period.

    3. You must show in your divorce petition that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.

  1. Marriage and Divorce Division of the National Registration Department of Malaysia (Malay: Bahagian Perkahwinan dan Perceraian, Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara Malaysia)

  2. Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 [Act 164] & Rules

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Knowledge Base ID :   1045
Last Reviewed :   March 28, 2014
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