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How do I get a divorce in Malaysia?

You will need to obtain a court order recognising that your marriage has been dissolved. A divorce may be obtained either through a joint petition or a single petition. Either party may initiate divorce proceedings.

What is the difference between a 'joint petition' and a 'single petition'?

A joint petition for divorce means that both parties have agreed on all the terms of divorce. This is sometimes also referred to as a 'mutual divorce'. Parties must agree on all the terms of divorce including division of matrimonial assets, alimony, guardianship, custody and care and control of any children of the marriage. Where parties are unable to agree on all the terms, then either party may file for a single petition divorce, otherwise known as a 'contested divorce'. A joint petition divorce is also generally much cheaper and quicker than a single petition divorce.

Help - I want a joint petition divorce but we haven't been able to agree on all the terms

This is quite common, especially when parties are at the initial stages of divorce. Thoughtful negotiation is key. At Chang Law Chambers, we specialise in helping parties reach an agreement through negotiations, either directly, or through mediation. It is worth bearing in mind that most contested divorce cases end up settling in the end, even after contentious court proceedings have begun.

How much does a divorce cost?

Please contact us to arrange a consultation so we may determine your individual needs. It is difficult to provide an accurate estimation of costs before we understand your situation.

I've gotten a divorce overseas - do I still need to get a divorce in Malaysia?

In order for a foreign divorce to be recognised in Malaysia, you will still need an order from a Malaysian court to recognise this. The court order is also necessary to update your marital status with the national registry ("JPN").



What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. In other words, it is a way to help parties resolve their issues without involving the courts. Mediation involves a neutral third party to help parties during the negotiation process. It is common for separated couples to have difficulty communicating with each other, and so a mediator can be very useful to provide a neutral channel of communication. It is important to note that mediation can be conducted at any point in time, even once court proceedings have started.

What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

Both mediation and arbitration are forms of alternative dispute resolution. However, agreements reached via mediation are not binding until a court order recording the same terms are involved. Parties are also not bound by the opinions of the mediator. In contrast, in arbitration, parties agree to submit to the decision of the arbitrator. For family matters, mediation is usually the more common choice as it allows more flexibility.

What is a mediator?

A mediator is a person who endeavours to help parties reach an amicable settlement. A mediator is neutral and impartial. For family disputes, it is common for parties to select a mediator familiar with family law and who is also an accredited mediator by the Malaysian Mediation Centre. We are able and would be happy to assist with family mediations. We believe we would be an ideal choice for a mediator for family matters as it is one of our key practice areas. Chang Yen May is also an accredited mediator and is on the panel of mediators in the Malaysian Mediation Centre.

What benefit does mediation provide me?

Please read our article on this topic. In short, mediation often saves a lot of time, money, and emotional distress. Parties should also bear in mind the impact that long and contentious court proceedings will have on the children involved in the divorce.

Estate Planning Malaysia

Do I need a will?

There is no legal requirement for you to have a will. However, a will would help ensure that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes and also allow for faster distribution of your estate.

Do I need to register my will?

There is no requirement to ‘register’ your will in Malaysia. Indeed, there is no central registry in Malaysia to do so. However, you should ensure that your next of kin/executor knows where your will is located so that they may use it for probate.

What is the difference between probate and letters of administration?

Both 'probate' and 'letters of administration' allow the deceased's estate to be dealt with. 'Probate' is the process used where the deceased died leaving a valid will, while 'letters of administration' is used if the deceased died without a will. Probate is often a cheaper, simpler and faster method than letters of administration. The distribution of the deceased's estate will be distributed in accordance with the Distribution Act. Thus, we highly recommend that you make a will.

What is the difference between an ‘executor’ and an ‘administrator’?

An ‘executor’ is the person appointed by the person making his will to carry out his wishes in accordance to his will and to administer his estate. The term ‘administrator’ is used in relation to letters of administration. The function of a administrator is essentially the same as that of an executor, except that the administrator is not a person chosen by the deceased to be the person to administer his estate.

My relative died without leaving a will. Who will inherit?

Where a person died without a will, distribution of his assets and properties will generally be in accordance with the Distribution Act and depend on who he leaves behind. For example, if a married man dies leaving behind his wife, child and parents, his wife will inherit 1/4, the child 1/2 and his parents 1/4 of his estate.

What is ‘resealing’?

Resealing of probate is when probate has been obtained in another country, but there is property in Malaysia that is covered by the deceased’s will and now needs to be distributed. In such a case, the executor can apply for the foreign obtained probate to be ‘resealed’ in Malaysia to deal with the property in Malaysia.