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Divorce in Malaysia – Simplified Guide for Non-Mutual Divorce

Simplified Guide for Non-Mutual Divorce by TYH & Co. Best and Trusted Divorce Lawyer in KL Selangor Malaysia

Divorce in Malaysia – Simplified Guide for Non-Mutual Divorce

This article will solely focus on the process and steps to file a non-mutual divorce for non-Muslim in Malaysia (also known as a single petition for divorce). If you wish to learn more about mutual divorce for non-Muslim, you can read our previous post on mutual divorce guide here.

Getting a divorce or contemplating to get a divorce is not an easy decision to make. This is more so if the divorce is not mutual i.e. if your spouse does not agree to the divorce terms or he/she cannot be found at all due to long term separation. Most of the time, the concern would be the expensive legal costs and complicated legal process for filing single petition for divorce in Malaysia. So, what is the process to file a single petition for divorce in Malaysia?

Process of Single Petition for Divorce in Malaysia

Here are few pointers that you need to take note of before engaging a divorce lawyer in Malaysia to start filing for a single petition for divorce. The aim of this article is to simplify the legal process for non-mutual divorce so you can understand the process better.

  1. Firstly, both husband and wife must attend a mandatory marriage counselling with the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) under the law before any party can file for single petition for divorce in Malaysia. The aim of the said counselling under the law is to reconcile parties, if possible, and to save marriages.
  2. Exemption can be granted from attending the marriage counselling with the JPN if any party can show exceptional circumstances such as separation of parties for many years, the other party cannot be found or whereabout of your spouse remained unknown. You may consult our divorce lawyer to understand better on how to apply for an exemption from the marriage counselling with the JPN.
  3. After the marriage counselling is completed, the JPN will issue a certificate/letter of completion accordingly. This is also known as KC28 (issued if the other party doesn’t attend the marriage counselling) or KC29 (if the parties failed to reconcile). Either one of these certificates is sufficient to start a single petition for divorce in Malaysia.
  4. To file for a single petition for divorce, it is important to note that the applicant must give reason or ground for divorce. Under the law, the applicant must show one or more grounds such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, the applicant is being deserted for more than 2 years or both parties are separated for more than 2 years.
  5. After your divorce petition is prepared, your divorce lawyer will proceed to file the divorce petition to the court. Consequently, there will be case management dates fixed by the court in order to get status update including whether if your spouse is intending to dispute the petition or not. This will also allow parties sufficient time to defend and reply to each other accordingly.
  6. Finally, the court will fix a date for hearing/trial based on the outcome and status of the matter. It is also not uncommon for the court to encourage parties to mediate or settle the terms out of the court in order for parties to resolve their matter privately. If the court thinks that the ground for divorce is proven, the court will grant a divorce order and other terms accordingly.

The above is a general flow of process for single petition for divorce in Malaysia. In reality, the process of single petition may take around 6 to 12 months to complete. Sometimes, this will go beyond 12 months if the divorce is complex and highly disputed.

Therefore, it is always advisable to seek for divorce settlement in order to achieve a win-win situation especially if children and/or properties are involved. This is because parties are in better control of the outcome of the process rather than leaving it to the court to decide. Ultimately, this will also save time and cost for parties in the event of a divorce if a settlement can be reached.

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