In Malaysia, the current law governing divorce for non-muslims is the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976. Of late, there are some controversies regarding the divorce procedures for a non-muslim couple whereby one of the partners have converted to Islam as his or her religion of choice. The recent Federal Court judgment in Subashini’s case remains some sort of headache for such a couple as it created some form of lacuna by saying that the civil and syariah courts are of equal standing and both can issue directions or orders notwithstanding the civil court remaining the correct forum for the dissolution of the civil marriage.
For other non-muslim couples without such a headache, the provisions in Section 8 and Section 4(3) of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 states the instances where a marriage can be dissolved. The former applies to marriages solemnized from 1st of March, 1982 whilst the latter applies to marriages solemnized prior to that date.
Section 8 provides that such marriages may be dissolved on the death of one of the parties, or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction (i.e. a decree of divorce), or by a decree made by a court of competent jurisdiction that the marriage is null and void (i.e. a decree of nullity).
Section 4(3) provides that every such marriage existing prior to that date, unless void under the law, religion, custom or usage under which it was solemnized, shall continue until it is dissolved by the death of one of the parties, or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction (i.e. a decree of divorce) or by a decree of nullity made by a court of competent jurisdiction. In other words, unless the marriage is not valid, it shall continue to subsist until it is dissolved in either of the three scenarios given.
Family law is complex and in Malaysia alone, there are separate laws governing the citizens depending on whether they are Muslims or not. In other countries such as the United States, family laws and even laws providing for the dissolution of a marriage are unique and may be different from the ones in force in Malaysia. To make matters more complicated, even such laws differ from state to state. So, family law applicable in say Dallas, Texas may be different from the ones in Los Angeles, California and it is best to consult an appropriate dallas family lawyer for the right advise. There are many dallas divorce lawyer around and it is good to look around for the one which can offer you the best advise. In most cases, divorce cases affect the parties emotionally and it takes quite a bit of skill to be a good divorce lawyer to offer the right advise. Search around for a divorce lawyer in dallas and compare their resumes. Word of mouth recommendation would be best. You definitely don’t want your lawyer to end up getting you half the car only