Common Divorce (Non-Muslim) Questions.

How To Divorce?

In Malaysia, there are two types of divorce of marriage for non-Muslims:

  • Divorce by mutual consent, i.e. both parties agree to the divorce
  • Divorce without mutual consent

Divorce by Mutual Consent (Joint Petition)
Both partiesto the marriage can jointly file a divorce where they can mutually agree to divorce. By a joint petition, both parties can freely decide on the maintenance for wife and children, custody and care of the children, division of matrimonial assets.
Divorce Without Mutual Consent (Unilateral/ Single Petition)
Either partyto a marriage may file a petition to divorce without consent of the other party, on the ground that the marriage has broken down. The break down of the marriage can be grounded one of the reasons as follows:

  • That the other party has committed adultery;
  • That the other party has behaved in such a way that it cannot reasonably be expected to live together;
  • That the other party has deserted for a continuous period of at least 2 years; OR
  • That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years.

Common misconception: The parties to the marriage must be living apart for more than 2 years before a divorce can be filed.
Answer: No, not necessary. Living apart for more than 2 years is merely a reason to file for single petition divorce. There are other reasons to file for divorce as mentioned above.

How long does it take for a divorce matter to be completed ?

Generally, a joint petition divorce matter takes 5 to 6 months to be completed while a unilateral divorce petition (without mutual consent) takes more time to be completed. The divorce matter could take more time if it is contested.
The actual time needed for may vary in each and every single case depending on the following factors:

  • The date of hearing granted by the court (whether it is early or late)
  • The complexity of the case
  • The time needed for both parties to reach a settlement (for joint petition's case)
  • The efficiency of the lawyer appointed.
What is the brief & general procedure for joint petition to divorce?
  • Consult A Lawyer.
  • With lawyer's advice, discuss and make settlement with your spouse for the arrangement of children, property & maintenance (if any).
  • Sign the divorce petition and related documents prepared by your lawyer.
  • Wait for the hearing date after the filing of your application in the High Court.
  • Attend the hearing with your lawyer (if you or your spouse cannot attend the hearing, kindly refer to your lawyer for solutions)
  • Obtain divorce certificate three months after a divorce order is granted by the judge.


  • Parties do not need to attend any JPN tribunal for joint petition to divorce.
  • Parties do not need to be separated for 2 years before a joint petition to divorce can be filed.
  • Parties do not need to specify the reason for divorce in joint petition.
What happen if my spouse doesn’t agree to divorce, or we cannot agree on the custody, maintenance , or property division?
  1. Consult A Lawyer.
  2. With lawyer’s advice, file necessary applications to the High Court or discuss settlement with your spouse.

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