Joint Petition Divorce
*This article will explore the key features and advantages of a joint petition divorce in Malaysia. Further information on divorces in Malaysia can be found in our article here.
In Malaysia, divorces may be obtained via a single petition divorce or a joint petition divorce. Joint petition divorces are sometimes referred to as ‘mutual divorces’ or ‘uncontested divorces’. The main difference between a single and joint petition is that parties have mutually agreed on all the terms of divorce in a joint petition, such as distribution of matrimonial assets and terms regarding any children of the marriage including custody, guardian and visitation rights.
There are many advantages of a joint petition divorce, including saving time and money. Joint petition divorces are generally much cheaper and faster than single petition divorces. Parties only need to attend one court hearing for the pronouncement of the divorce, compared to a single petition divorce where there will be many days in court requiring the presence of not just the parties’ lawyers, but the parties themselves. Many people find the preparation and days in court to be stressful and emotionally exhausting. While joint petition divorces are usually completed in a matter of months, it is not uncommon for a single petition divorce to take years to be resolved via the litigation process.
Another advantage is the fact that the parties do not need to prove that their marriage has irretrievably broken down or state the cause for the breakdown of the marriage. This means that parties do not have to finger point or apportion blame to each other, which can help parties part ways amicably. Parties would also be able to maintain a higher level of privacy as such details will not need to be disclosed to the court.
Further, a joint petition divorce gives parties greater control over the terms for divorce as they may dictate the terms. For example, parents may devise a flexible and/or detailed arrangement with regards to their children that best suits their needs. As no two families have the same needs, parties are able to choose terms which suit their family.
The main difficulty involved with a joint petition divorce is procuring parties’ agreement on all the terms of divorce. Often, parties find it difficult to agree on terms regarding the children and division of matrimonial assets. As a joint petition divorce is mutual and has to be freely agreed to by both parties, it is not possible to force a party to agree to any term. For example, if a father refuses to pay any child maintenance, although under the law he has an obligation to provide for the child, the mother cannot force him to agree to such a term.
One way to assist parties on coming to a mutual agreement on all the terms is to engage the services of a mediator. Mediation is a confidential and voluntary form of alternative dispute resolution. A mediator is a neutral and independent third party who helps facilitate discussion with the aim of achieving an amicable settlement between parties. For further information regarding mediation, please refer to our article here. Chang Law Chambers would be happy to assist with mediations. Our lawyer is an accredited mediator by the Malaysian Mediation Centre, and is experienced with family law.
If you are interested in finding out more about divorces and/or our mediation services, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. If you are interested in obtaining a divorce, please reach out to us for a consultation.