Indonesian Supreme Court Decision No. 289 of 2014: Irrevocable Divorce Cassation

The parties were married on 21 January 1994 and had four children (aged 19, 17, 12 and 7). Initially, their marriage was harmonious; however, by December 2010, it had become quarrelsome. The cassation respondent had claimed that:

  1. the parties could not reconcile their differences;
  2. the cassation applicant could not commit to Islam (despite having converted to Islam from Christianity to marry the cassation respondent, he then, in 2006, reverted to Christianity, only to convert to Islam again in 2011);
  3. the cassation applicant had not provided her with financial support for the last three years.

Problems escalated and, in April 2011, the parties separated. The cassation applicant, in the first instance, requested the local religious court grant her an irrevocable divorce (talak satu ba’in Shughro). In Decision 1048/Pdt.G/2013/PA.Kab.Kdr (18 September 2013), the lower court, pursuant to art 19(f) of Government Regulation No. 9 of 1975, in conjunction with art 116(f) of the Compilation of Islamic Laws, granted her an irrevocable divorce (talak satu ba’in sughra) on the grounds of ongoing conflict, and ordered her to pay IDR 691,000 in court costs.

The cassation applicant then lodged an appeal with the Surabaya High Religious Court (3427/Pdt.G/2013/PT.Sby), which upheld the judgment of the Kediri Religious Court.

On 11 February 2014, the cassation applicant submitted a request for cassation to the Supreme Court based on the following grounds:

  1. that the Surabaya High Religious Court had applied the law incorrectly, granting a divorce despite the cassation respondent's claim for divorce not being established with any legitimate evidence;
  2. that the aforementioned evidence was inadequate because the marriage was actually stable and harmonious; and
  3. that the cassation respondent's true motive for divorce was to be with her boyfriend, while the interests of the parties' children were not adequately considered by the court.

Pursuant to art 30 of Law No. 14 of 1985 on the Supreme Court, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2004 and Law No. 3 of 2009, the court upheld the decision of the Surabaya High Religious Court, dismissing the defendant’s reasons for cassation, and ordering him to pay court costs (IDR 500,000).

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