There is no denying that marriage is one of the most important aspects of our lives. It is something that we would cherish forever- or so you think.

Partners go into marriages believing that the person they are going to marry would be the one that they would live with for the rest of their lives. However, there are some couples that are just not meant for each other.

If that is the case, filing for divorce just makes sense, but that is exactly what most Malaysians do not know about. What exactly is the divorce law and what does it entail?

How Do I Start the Process?

For people who are married via civil marriages, a divorce may be petitioned to a family court by either of the partners (or both). That is because such marriages are governed by the Law Reform of Marriage and Divorce Act of 1976.

But, do not think of filing for divorce if you’ve just been together for a couple of months. That is because the law states that you can only file a petition if you’ve been married for at least 2 years with your spouse. 

The reason for this provision is simple. The Malaysia government wants married couples to protect the sanctity of marriage and to reconcile their differences so to protect their vows.

However, just like any law, there are some cases where the 2-year requirements can be lifted. This is only allowed for spouses that are considered to have suffered (or is suffering) from what is considered by the law as “exceptional hardship or related circumstances”. Some of the things that can be considered as such may include verbal quarrels, physical harm, and adultery. Both parties may file a joint petition or a spouse (may it be the wife or the husband) can file for a single divorce petition.

What is the Process of the Division of Properties?

This is actually pretty tricky. But, what you have to know is that the properties may be divided upon how they were acquired. For instance, if the property was acquired using a spouse’s money before marriage, then they will have ownership of that particular property. However, things will get quite tricky, especially when we are talking about matrimonial properties.

Can I Get Alimony?

According to Section 77 of the LRA, the man would have to pay for maintenance to his ex-wife during the court proceedings and after the divorce is done. Furthermore, the woman may also do the same for her ex-husband provided that his husband is financially incapable of providing sustenance.

As to how much money should be given to the spouses, that will depend on the earning potential, as well as the financial needs of both parties. Some courts will also look at the duration of the marriage, the standard of living, the age of the wife, and the financial support provided to the wife during their marriage.

As for the alimony, the court will decide based on how much money you were contributed towards the breakdown of your marriage expenses.