Foreign Divorce in Indonesia

Thursday, 16 November 2017 Written by Asep Wijaya 3192 times

Foreign divorce for all-foreign spouses in Indonesia is possible. This usually happens to couple who live in Indonesia long enough and both of them are expats. Certain situation must be met before you can access our legal system. First, minimum contact of the spouses in Indonesia. This is to see if the court in Indonesia has jurisdiction. Second, reporting/registration of the foreign marriage. Three, how Indonesian law can rule in your divorce case. Divorce in Indonesia must meet at least one of the legal grounds.  

How Long is Long Enough?

In order to secure your access to the Indonesia's legal system, you need to have a minimum contact of at least one (1) year. You and your wife must maintain 12 (twelve) months residency before the court in Indonesia may be able to consider your divorce case. Having a child born or school in Indonesia is even better. You have better connection and stronger contact with our legal system. If you're employed by the the company in Indonesia, the chance of getting your marriage dissolved by the court here is even higher.

The fact that either of you can't access the court system in your home country is a bummer. I have a US client in Jakarta filed for a divorce in Washington court. They spent time and money just to see the court did not have any jurisdiction in their case. What a waste!

Dissolving a Foreign Marriage

Having your marriage performed outside of Indonesia, doesn't mean you have to report or even register your marriage in Indonesia. You or your wife doesn't have to do that. Some laws in Indonesia requires the parties in the marriage to report the marriage to government authorities, but it only applicable in the event one of you is an Indonesian citizen, or both of you are Indonesian.

Since both of you are non-Indonesian, the reporting obligation is not applicable to you. Article 56 of the 1974 Marriage Law, it is not for you and your wife. This is the proceeding to dissolve a foreign marriage between two foreign spouses, in Indonesia. If either of you is an Indonesian citizen, you don't have to report or register your marriage. So, don't bother!

Your Law is Our Law

Dissolving a marriage in Indonesia, we have the legal grounds to do that. It's not really printed on the Marriage Law. It's in the 1975 Government Regulation. You know, the legal instrument implementing the Marriage Law in more details. You can't have it dissolved by mutual consent. It's not legal here. There are factual situations that must be met with the legal grounds. Your domestic situation at least must meet one of the legal grounds for dissolving a marriage. They have been regulated in the 1975 Government Regulation, which are, in the event one of the parties:

  1. has committed adultery, is an alcoholic, is addicted to drugs, is a gambler or exhibits other vices which are difficult to cure;

  2. has left the other spouse for two consecutive years, without consent and without legitimate reasons or the absence of reasons beyond his control;

  3. has been sentenced to imprisonment for five (5) consecutive years or a longer period;

  4. has resorted to cruelty or severe ill treatment, endangering the life of the other spouse;

  5. has developed a disability or disease, preventing from fulfilling the duties of husband or wife; or

  6. has irreconcilable differences.

So, those legal grounds, at least one of them, must be recognized in your law. Well, I have nothing further on this one. Your law, is not really my department.

Be Nice to Your Friends!

You have to present witnesses to the court. Well, at least two. Unfortunately, it's not one of the CSI movies where you can supply scientific evidence, without any single human being taking a stand at the court room. They want a person, in a flesh and blood, supplying information and describing what happened to your marriage. They want to have a conversation with your witnesses. They want to talk to them. So, let them talk about your marriage in front of you. There's nothing to hide. Just make sure you give them interesting subject to discuss with. 

Yes, I know. It's a conventional civil procedures law we have been using for more than one millennium. It's our legal system, and you have to work with it if you want them to dissolve your foreign marriage in Indonesia. You will have to start looking for them. Your witnesses. They can be anyone. Your domestic staffs, colleagues, common friends, and whoever knows anything about your domestic background. Foreign witnesses are also welcome. They will have to do you a quite simple job: to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The most sacred job of being a human, and they will have to do it on a witness bench. The loneliest place on earth. 

Our thanks to Asep A. Wijaya, Managing Director of Wijaya & Co for sharing this information with us!
 

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The above is provided for informational purposes only and is NOT to be relied upon as legal advice. This information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney and should not be construed as a solicitation. No attorney-client relationship is established by use of information found within this article nor in this website.

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