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Recognition and Registration of a Foreign Divorce Order in Malaysia

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“Mr. Yeo, my husband is a Singaporean and we have registered our marriage in Singapore & Malaysia.”

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“Now, we have both decided to end our marriage. We have filed a divorce petition in the Family Court of Singapore which has been scheduled for hearing next month.”

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“May I know that after the divorce order issued by the Family Court of Singapore, can I directly bring it to JPN to update our marital status? Whether I would need to file a divorce petition afresh in Malaysia?? And What documents are needed for me to initiate the relevant proceedings??”.

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Intro – Due to close proximity between Malaysia and Singapore, it is pretty common for the citizens from these 2 countries to enter into civil marriage. Issue arises when they decided to end their marriage. The very first question that comes into mind is that whether it is necessary for the parties to initiate 2 separate divorce proceedings so as to dissolve the registration of their marriage in both countries.

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In our article today, we would discuss about the registability a foreign divorce order in Malaysia, and the relevant proceedings to get it recognized by the local authority.

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Answer:

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Generally, a foreign divorce order is not recognized in Malaysia as it is issued outside of the jurisdiction of the Malaysian Courts. Therefore, the parties who obtained the foreign decree (whether it is from Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong etc) cannot bring the foreign order to JPN for registration as the Registrar General of Marriage in Malaysia does not have the power to update the marital status with a foreign decree.

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Nonetheless, it does not mean that the parties need to initiate another divorce proceeding in Malaysia. This is because under Section 107(3) & (4) of the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976, it states that the Registrar of Marriage in Malaysia shall register the foreign divorce or annulment obtained in foreign country after the High Court granted a declaration order.

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Therefore, the parties can engage a law firm in Malaysia to file a petition in the High Court of Malaya to seek for: 1) a declaration order from the High Court to recognize the foreign divorce order, and 2) an order to direct the Registrar General of Marriage in Malaysia to update the marital record with the foreign decree.

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The documents required to initiate the relevant court proceedings are as follows:-

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  • A copy of the Applicant’s IC
  • A copy of his/her foreign partner IC or passport
  • marriage certificates (issued by the foreign registry & locally)
  • Foreign divorce Order

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Such court proceedings usually can be completed within 2 months (as it is not a contested matter) and the applicant need not physically appear before the Court. Thereafter, the law firm can represent the Applicant to bring the declaration order to JPN so to update the marriage record accordingly.

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If the language of the foreign divorce order is not in Bahasa Malaysia or English, more time would be needed to translate the divorce order before applying the declaration order from the Court.

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These are the information regarding divorce laws in Malaysia that we would want to share with you today. Should you have further inquiries for this matter, please do contact us: https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=60143108048

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You can learn other legal information from our website:https://www.yeolaw.my/

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