Before a person shall petition for divorce, he or she must first refer the matrimonial difficulty to a conciliatory body and that body is to certify that it has failed to reconcile the parties. This requirement, however, is not applicable to mutually agreed divorce or divorce on the ground that one party to the marriage has converted to Islam.
What Is A Conciliatory Body?
Under s.106 LRA 1976, a conciliatory body means:
(a) a council set up for the purposes of reconciliation by the appropriate authority of any religion, community, clan or association;
(b) a marriage tribunal; or
(c) any other body approved as such by the Minister by notice in the Gazette.
What If Parties Cannot Agree On The Right And Suitable Conciliatory Body
The matrimonial difficulty may be referred to any conciliatory body acceptable to both parties. If parties are unable to agree on a conciliatory body, shall be referred to the marriage tribunal for the area in which they reside or, where they are living in different areas, to the marriage tribunal for the area in which they had last resided together.
What Happens During Reconciliation?
The conciliatory body will have six months from the date of reference to try and resolve the matrimonial difficulty. Attendance of parties are required at the sessions. Parties will be given equal opportunities of being heard and parties are able to explore a middle ground or make any inquiries in hopes of trying to save the marriage.
If the conciliatory body concludes that it is unable to resolve the matrimonial difficulty in saving the marriage, a certificate to this effect will be issued alongside its recommendations in relation to, but not limited to, maintenance, division of matrimonial property and custody of minor children of the marriage.
Who Can Be Present During The Reconciliation?
Only the husband and wife themselves. No solicitors or family members shall appear or act on behalf or any party in such proceedings, without the leave of the Court.
What If Parties Do Not Want To Refer The Matrimonial Difficulty To The Conciliatory Body?
He or she may apply to the Court for leave to dispense with the requirement of having first referred the matrimonial difficulty to a conciliatory body on one or more of the facts and circumstances set out below:
i. He or she has been deserted by the spouse and does not know the whereabouts of his or her spouse;
ii. He or she is residing overseas and will not return to Malaysia within 6 months after the filing of petition;
iii. He or she willfully failed to attend conciliatory sessions despite being required so;
iv. He or she is imprisoned for a term of five years or more;
v. He or she is suffering from incurable mental illness; and
vi. Any other exceptional circumstances accepted by the Court.
• The required documents are as follows: -
-An application form (JPN. KC14) (The form can be downloaded here)
-An original and photocopied IC
-A valid passport
-Other relevant documents deem necessary to explain the circumstances of the case.
Please do not hesitate to contact our expert team if you require assistance and legal advice in relation to this area of your matrimonial proceedings.