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Dissolving Foreign Marriage in Indonesia

Wednesday, 27 September 2017
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Foreign marriage may be dissolved in Indonesia under very specific terms and conditions that must be met by the couple. This usually happens to couple who live in Indonesia and both of them are expats. If you're experiencing this issue, you need to pay attention to a couple of important legal aspects. 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.  

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. 

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. So, don't bother!

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.

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. 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 it to dissolve your foreign marriage in Indonesia. You will have to start looking for them. Your witnesses. They can be everyone. Your domestic staffs, colleagues, common friends, and whoever knows anything about your domestic background. 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.

I am Asep Wijaya. Thank you for visiting my blogs and reading my posts.

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