Bantul Religious Court Decision No. 1223 of 2014: Irrevocable Divorce

The parties were married on 5 May 2007 and had one child. The plaintiff was a divorcee and had a child from her previous marriage. The plaintiff submitted, however, that the parties' marriage had been disharmonious from the beginning because the defendant had:

  1. been unemployed up until a year ago and had, therefore, been unable to provide the plaintiff with sufficient financial support;
  2. frequently pawned the plaintiff's belongings, including her camera, motorcycle, wedding ring, gas stove, and other furniture; and
  3. been suspicious of the plaintiff, not allowing her to communicate with her ex-husband with whom she had a child.

The plaintiff submitted that the defendant's suspicions had not dissipated, even after the parties moved to live with the defendant's parents. Rather, the defendant's suspicions increased to such an extent that the defendant forbade the plaintiff from seeing her child from her first marriage. When the parties would quarrel, the defendant often resorted to physical violence, even whipping the plaintiff with a belt and damaging household items. The plaintiff also submitted that the defendant's alcohol consumption compounded matters further and that he had even been unnecessarily suspicious of one of the plaintiff's married male customers.

The plaintiff submitted that problems escalated prior to Ramadhan in July 2014, when the defendant had frequently told the plaintiff to leave and that it would be better if the parties divorced ('lebih baik cerai saja'). On 30 September 2014, the plaintiff returned to her parents' home after the defendant ordered her to leave. On 4 October 2014, the plaintiff brought the parties' child to the defendant's home after she received a text message from the defendant making such a request. There the defendant trapped the plaintiff in a room where he strangled her with both hands, leaving the plaintiff powerless and unable to breathe.

Believing that the parties' marriage was damaged irreparably, the plaintiff requested that the court grant her an irrevocable divorce (talak satu ba'in sughra). The court acknowledged that the parties' homelife was no longer harmonious, that the parties had been separated for seven months, and that familial intervention had failed to reconcile the parties' differences. Accordingly, pursuant to art 39(1) of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, 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 on the grounds of ongoing conflict.

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