Ambon Religious Court Decision No. 49 of 2011: Divorce Granted Due To Separation & Ongoing Conflict

The parties were married on 9 September 1996 and had two children. The plaintiff submitted that the parties' marriage had become quarrelsome early on for reasons unbeknownst to the plaintiff. The defendant would often become intoxicated and physically beat the plaintiff, as well as leave the parties' home for days on end. In February 2006, the defendant finally left the plaintiff and their two children. As a result, the plaintiff requested that the court grant her an irrevocable divorce (talak satu ba'in sughra).

The defendant responded to the plaintiff's submissions, submitting that the plaintiff had already married another man in July 2010, and questioning whether or not Islamic law permitted a woman to marry another man before her husband had first divorced her. The defendant conceded that the parties quarrelled frequently but reasoned that it was common for married couples to do so. Moreover, that the reason the parties quarrelled as frequently as they did was that the plaintiff would often leave the parties' home, leaving behind their two children for days on end. The defendant also conceded that he had physically beaten the plaintiff when in an intoxicated state but justified it on the grounds that the plaintiff would frequently leave the parties' home to fraternise with other men.

In response to the plaintiff's submission that the defendant had left the plaintiff and their children in mid-February 2006, the defendant responded that he had commenced work in West Seram regency on 1 February 2000, and that every time he had returned home on a weekend the plaintiff was never there. In actual fact, the defendant submitted, it was the plaintiff who had left the parties' home from mid-2008 until 31 January 2011, evidenced by the fact the plaintiff had been renting a room in Ambon with the man she subsequently married. Moreover, the parties' children had been living with the defendant's parents. The defendant submitted that he was surprised to learn, when he returned home on 1 Feburary 2011, that the plaintiff had filed for divorce. He also submitted that it was unfeasible for the plaintiff to expect the defendant to maintain his spousal obligations to the plaintiff when she had been carrying on extra-marital affairs with other men before re-marrying.

The court acknowledged that the parties' marriage was in an irreparable state and no longer constituted a joyful and everlasting domestic life, per art 1 of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, or a peaceful, hopeful and loving domestic life, per art 3 of the Compilation of Islamic Laws. Pursuant to art 39(2) of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, art 19(b) and (f) of Government Regulation No. 9 of 1975, and art 116(b) and (f) of the Compilation of Islamic Laws, it acceded to the plaintiff's request on the grounds that the parties had been separated for more than two consecutive years, and ongoing conflict.

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