Banda Aceh Shari'a Court Decision No. 65 of 2015

The parties were married on 20 March 1993 at the Office of Religious Affairs in Plupuh, Sragen. After marrying they lived in Sukaramai, Banda Aceh, and had three children. The plaintiff submitted that the parties' marriage had been harmonious until 18 December 2010, after which the defendant had left the plaintiff and their children for no apparent reason. Despite searching for, as well as inquiring as to the whereabouts of, the defendant, the plaintiff had not been able to locate him. Therefore, the plaintiff sought a judicial divorce from the defendant, as well as custody of the parties' one remaining child still under the age of consent. Owing to her own impecuniosity, the plaintiff also sought dispensation from any court costs.

In the defendant's absence, the court acceded to the plaintiff's application for an irrevocable divorce (talak ba'in shughra), acknowledging that the purpose of marriage, as envisaged in art 1 of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, was no longer feasible. Moreover, that the defendant having left the plaintiff for more than two consecutive years was sufficient reason to grant a divorce, pursuant to art 39(2) of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, art 19(b) of Government Regulation No. 9 of 1975, and art 116(b) of the Compilation of Islamic Laws.

In regards to their child, the court found that while the child remained the joint responsibility of the parties, the plaintiff would be better placed to rear and educate him given his being underage (belum mumayyiz). This also accorded with the requirement contained in art 105(a) of the Compilation of Islamic Laws. The court emphasised its belief that a mother would be more patient and meticulous in raising the children, and that to separate them from the plaintiff would be incredibly problematic given their age. The court also cited art 59(2) of Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, which acknowledges the rights and needs of children to maintain a personal relationship with their father. Accordingly, it granted the defendant visitation rights, as well as the right to be consulted regarding his children's education and development, as contained in art 26(1) of Law No. 23 of 2002 on Child Protection. The court also acceded to the plaintiff's request that the State bear the costs associated with the proceeding.

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