Kendari Religious Court Decision No. 575 of 2014: Irrevocable Divorce Granted

The parties were married on 25 August 2008 (NB: the court's findings state they were married on 21 August 2008) and had two children. The plaintiff submitted that eight months into her first pregnancy the parties had quarrelled and the defendant had grabbed and pushed her to the floor with utter disregard. At the time, the plaintiff reported the defendant to the authorities for acts of domestic violence, however, the defendant fled for Bombana in search of gold and his parents. The plaintiff's parents advised her to reconcile with the defendant and to withdraw her police report, which the plaintiff did for the sake of the parties' marriage.

In 2011, the parties appeared to have reconciled their differences, already having had their first child. The defendant then proceeded to have an extra-marital affair with another woman, while choosing to spend all his income on this other woman and none on the plaintiff. The plaintiff also submitted that during an encounter with the other woman, she had learned that the defendant had been carrying on this extra-marital affair while the plaintiff was pregnant.

The defendant had also been incarcerated for transporting petroleum. Upon his release from prison, the plaintiff began working at Kredit Colombus (a credit company) to make ends meet. When the defendant, however, forbid her from working the parties had begun to quarrel again. The plaintiff submitted that their disputes were also the result of the defendant:

  1. demanding that the plaintiff return to him the spending money with which he had provided her, if he himself had run out of money;
  2. forbidding, and becoming angry with, the plaintiff from working to pay for domestic household needs;
  3. damaging the plaintiff's belongings and that of the household when he became angry;
  4. physically assaulting the plaintiff when he became jealous for no established reason;
  5. often threatening the plaintiff, causing her great fear and trauma;
  6. regularly instructing the plaintiff to divorce him; and
  7. controlling the parties' finances and only providing the plaintiff with money when she needed/requested it.

While the parties' families had endeavoured to make the parties reconcile, following Eid Mubarak in 2014, the plaintiff left the defendant and returned to her parents' home, where she had remained until the time of the court proceeding. During that time, the defendant continued to terrorise and threaten the plaintiff, leaving the plaintiff with no other option but to seek an irrevocable divorce (talak satu ba'in shughra). The plaintiff also sought custody of the parties' two young children, as well as IDR 1.5 million per month in child maintenance until the children were adult and independent.

The court deferred to expert Islamic legal opinion in Kitab Ia'natul Thalibin Juz III, which dictates that a court is to grant a wife a divorce if she is no longer happy with her husband. Moreover, citing art 39 of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, art 65 of Law No. 7 of 1989 on the Religious Judiciary, and art 5 of Law No. 23 of 2004 on the Abolition of Domestic Violence, the court acceded to the plaintiff's request. In its findings, however, it did not explicitly accede to the plaintiff's request for child maintenance payments.

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