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Issues 16

Tournament Badminton & Celebrate Birthday JAN-APRIL 2016
Venue: The Challenger Sports Centre Ampang

When a couple decide to tie the knot, it is the happiest and should be the most memorable day of their life time. Once announce, it is a news that make their families and friends excited for the ceremonies to follow. For some who could afford, it is the time to throw their most expensive party. Indeed, marriage is an expensive endeavor. For some it will last “till death do us part” but for some unfortunate ones, it is costly and deadly endeavor!

Marriage is the process by which two people make their relationship public, official, and permanent. It is the joining of two people in a bond that putatively lasts until death, but in practice is increasingly cut short by divorce.

Malay Mail in its March 4, 2014 report said divorce occurs every 10 minutes in Malaysia! It is an alarming rate. Surprisingly, most law practitioners both in the Syariah Court as well as the Civil Court pointed fingers at women! Most superstitiously believed that the rising divorce rate is due to women becoming more financially independent.  Better education, economic independence, influence of multimedia and the women having access to legal advice, and better understanding of the laws, they know their rights and they are not as tolerant as the last generation.

However, court documents seem to show otherwise. Most of divorce cases reported suggest that women who seek divorce were either mentally or emotionally tortured with vulgar and harsh language and some were subjected to physical abuse, sometimes deadly if not of courage for divorce!

The Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, prescribe a mandatory 2 year ban for divorce from the date of marriage. Statistics in Malaysia shows that most marriages that end up in divorce last for 5 or 10 years.

Divorce can be either by way of Joint Petition if both parties agree to the terms of divorce. Some resort to contentious divorce when they could not agree on the terms or simply to

clarify on certain allegations. Most of the time, women have to bear the torturous minimum 2 years‘ mandatory marriage’ before one could file for a divorce petition. However, courts may allow the presentation of a petition for divorce within the specified period on the grounds that the case is one of exceptional circumstances or that hardship had been suffered by the petitioner. Court may by leave also dispense with reference to the marriage reconciliatory session if it can be shown that there is no chance of reconciliation.

What amounts to exceptional circumstances? In most of reported cases; cruelty, hardship, suffering and abuse between husband and wife are eminent factors that determine exceptional circumstances to dissolve the marriage before the expiration of a two year period. Above all, a really important issue to be considered in all of these cases is whether there are any chances of reconciliation. In determining the application the court will also take cognizant of the interest of any child of the marriage. It is also the most difficult and painful consideration especially for women who are economically dependent on her spouse. However, obviously, it will not be in the best interest of a child to live in a harsh environment where it imprints emotional scar for the rest of the child’s life!