Ambon Religious Court Decision No. 58 of 2011: Irrevocable Divorce Granted

The parties were married on 17 January 2005 but had no children. After marrying in Bau-Bau, the parties had returned to Ambon and lived in a rental property from 2005-2006, before moving to their own home in December 2006. The plaintiff submitted that, since 2008, the parties' marriage had become quarrelsome because the defendant had had an extra-marital affair in Ambon and Jakarta. The plaintiff had learned of the affair when she called the defendant and the other woman in question answered his phone, resulting in the plaintiff and other woman arguing over the phone.

The plaintiff also submitted that the defendant had failed to disclose to her that, after the parties had agreed to rent out their property for one year, the defendant had rented it out for two years, spending the proceeds from rent payments on the other woman. The defendant had also confessed to having a daughter with a non-Muslim woman, the child now being in the care of the defendant's older sister, as well as marrying another woman, with whom he had a four-year old daughter.

Problems escalated on 13 Feburary 2011 when the defendant extended the term of the rental agreement for their property without first consulting the plaintiff. The defendant then spent the rent proceeds on the other woman, the plaintiff submitted.

The defendant submitted that he did not live in Ambon, but rather in Central Jakarta, and therefore the Ambon Religious Court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate the case. Moreover, he rejected the plaintiff's submission that he had used proceeds from renting their home to fraternise with another woman. Rather, the defendant submitted that he had used that money to cover the plaintiff's university fees (the plaintif was attending university in Makassar and the defendant did not have sufficient finances to cover the costs). The defendant also rejected the plaintiff's submission that he had married another woman with whom he had a four-year old daughter.

The defendant also submitted that from the IDR 17 million per annum he made from renting the parties' home, he had spent IDR 4 million on plumbing, IDR 5 million on the issuance of a certificate from the National Land Body, provided the plaintiff with IDR 4 million to discharge a debt she owed to a colleague, and IDR 2 million to pay an instalment to the landowner as the land had not yet been paid-off in full.

Dismissing the defendant's claim that the court lacked the necessary jurisdiction to adjudicate the case, the court found that, based on both parties' submissions, it was evident that the parties were no longer compatible and had already been separated since February 2011. Pursuant to art 19(f) of Government Regulation No. 9 of 1975, and art 116(f) of the Compilation of Islamic Laws, the Court acceded to the plaintiff's request for an irrevocable divorce (talak satu ba'in sughra).

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