A single divorce petition is usually when an agreement cannot be mutually reached between the husband and wife. Either one of the parties disagrees to divorce or to the terms of the divorce such as, child custody, maintenance/alimony payable (either to spouse and/or children) and division of matrimonial properties.

Under Section 106 of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act (“the Act”), parties need to undergo counselling sessions to a conciliatory body/marriage tribunal first. However, there are exceptions to this, where parties are not required to attend a conciliation.

Once the marriage tribunal certified the marriage has irretrievably broken down, a certificate/letter (also known as KC29) will be issued after three (3) counselling sessions within six (6) months.

Next, documents needed to prepare the single divorce petition:

  1. A copy of the marriage certificate;
  2. A copy of the child(ren)’s birth certificate (if any);
  3. A copy of certificate/letter issued by the conciliatory body/marriage tribunal;
  4. A copy of ownership document for the matrimonial property(ies).

Section 53 of the Act provides that a party to the marriage may file a petition for a divorce on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Further, Section 54 of the Act provides the list of grounds in detail to which the Court shall deem the marriage as irretrievably broken down as follows:

(a) that the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;
(b) that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;
(c) that the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition;
(d) that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition.

After filing a single divorce petition, the petition must be served to the Respondent personally or by post. If the Respondent wishes to defend or dispute the facts of the petition, the Respondent shall give notice within eight (8) days and to file an answer to the petition in twenty-one (21) days.

A trial date will be scheduled by the Court where the Court will decide in respect of the maintenance, child custody and division of matrimonial property(ies). Subsequently, the Court may grant a decree nisi.

After the expiration of three (3) months (“the cooling period”), a Notice of Application for decree nisi to be made absolute shall be filed. Then, a Certificate of Making Decree Nisi absolute shall be granted by Court, which would also be used to update the parties’ marital status at Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara Malaysia. Finally, the Single Divorce Petition is now deemed completed.

A single divorce petition would usually take about nine (9) to twelve (12) months for the whole divorce process to be finalized. However, this is subject to the complexity of the case.