Tag Archives: Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164)

Divorce by Mutual Consent or Joint Petition in Malaysia


Dissolution of a marriage by way of divorce by joint petition or by mutual consent is allowed  under Section 52 Law Reform(Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) and the jurisdiction to grant the divorce lies with the High Court.  It is worth to pause that the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) is governing statutes regulating among other things marriages and divorces for non-muslims in Malaysia.

As long as the parties agreed to the divorce, one of them is domiciled in Malaysia (or is a citizen of Malaysia) and have been married for at least two (2) years at the time of the presentation of the Petition for divorce they are eligible to apply for a divorce by way of a joint petition under Section 52 Law Reform(Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164).

It is equally important to note that dissolution of the marriage by way of joint petition is out of the free will of the parties and hence it necessarily means that the parties will have to agree to the few key areas following the divorce (where applicable) such as custody of the children, maintenance of the wife and distribution of matrimonial properties.

In my view, as long as the arrangement between the parties in these key areas are legal, the Court is ready to grant the order as per the joint petition  without going into the merits and/or the entitlement of the parties. For example, if the parties have agreed that the wife will get the custody of the son, the Court will not enquire whether the welfare of the son is best served with the wife having the custody of the son. The same will go to the maintenance of the son, if the husband agreed to pay the monthly maintenance of RM2,000.00 to the wife as maintenance of the son, the Court will not enquire whether the husband can afford to pay such sum and/or whether the son really need this amount. If the parties are unable to agree on the relevant key areas then they will not be able to obtain divorce by mutual consent. One of them will have to present a petition for divorce and the matter now has become a Contested Divorce.

The legal process for divorcing by joint petition will commence with:

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