Article: Turkish divorce law update 2

Author: Berk Çektir  Full Profile here

8 February 2016

There are two types of divorces in Turkey: contested divorces and uncontested divorces.

The proceedings for these two different types of divorces are different. A couple can get divorced through a settlement agreement under Turkish law. The precondition is that couples can only file a divorce with settlement if they have been married for more than a year. In order to obtain such a divorce, both the wife and the husband should agree on and declare the terms of divorce before a family court. The parties are expected to have prepared a settlement agreement covering all aspects of the divorce and post-divorce, including but not limited to custody, financial matters, alimony and child support. All matters that can potentially be disputed must be included in the settlement protocol and be regulated properly.

What if the parties want to change the terms of settlement in the future? The parties can always seek further relief to problems that occurred after the court case is closed. However, this needs a new court case and the judge needs to go through the case and decide on the claim or demands of the applying party. I would strongly recommend you consult with a lawyer when drafting a settlement agreement.

In a contested divorce, both parties have the burden of proof. Witnesses should be designated and invited. Because the witnesses usually know both parties, making a statement is a difficult task for them.

If one of the divorce parties lives abroad, notifying him or her of the trial is time consuming. First of all, the petition and its related documents must be translated into the defendant's language and sealed by an official translator. Then the justice ministry of the defendant's country must be notified through the Turkish Ministry of Justice. Finally, the defendant must be notified. It is not possible to proceed until the notification process is complete.

The duration of the trial will vary depending on each party's claims. If there is a dispute about any of the aspects like the guardianship of the children, separation of assets, pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages or child maintenance, the trial will be longer. Such disputes also set the stage for an appeal. Appeals usually last approximately one year, as long as neither party tries to take the suit to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

As in the post-trial process in an uncontested divorce, once the verdict of the court is finalized, the parties may apply for changes to birth certificates and attend to other matters. The issue of the separation of property must also be resolved on the date the trial is finalized if no later date is fixed by the parties. Matrimonial property regimes and asset claims in divorce cases are another interesting topic to write about. The law on assets changed in 2002, and there are several details that should be taken into consideration regarding divorce cases.

If one of the parties fails to fulfill the commitments undertaken in a pre-nuptial agreement, then the other party can resort to execution offices to enforce the agreement's terms. In a contested divorce, however, there may be freezing orders to be executed. To sum up, the proceedings for a contested divorce are different than those of uncontested divorce in many ways.

Disclaimer: this article was accurate at the time of publication (8th February 2016). Before relying on its contents, consult a legal advisor for any relevant updates and applicability to your interests.

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