The Cambodian family law system is influenced by the French civil system and by customary law. It also contains elements of common law (originating from Britain) and of Vietnamese law. There is a Civil Code (2007) and a Constitution that represents the supreme law of the country. We specialise in international divorce and related family law issues and can advise individuals going through divorce in England who have some legal connection to Cambodia. For those resident in the UK who were married in Cambodia or where one spouse is Cambodian, you should consider getting legal advice before beginning the process. The interaction between two or more systems of law may have an impact on the outcome of your case. We discuss some of the main aspects of Cambodian divorce law below.
Grounds For Divorce In Cambodia
If a couple agrees, a divorce by consent is appropriate. If the court is satisfied that there is a genuine desire on the part of both spouses to divorce it will issue a divorce order. Otherwise – in the absence of agreement – the grounds for divorce are the following:
- Desertion without good reason
- The death or life of the spouse being unknown for a year or more
- Living apart contrary to the spirit of marriage for a year or more
- A breakdown in the matrimonial relationship without any expectation of reconciliation
Under the Civil Code the court retains the right to dismiss an application for divorce if it believes granting it would cause severe ‘anguish or hardship ‘ to the spouse or children. It can also refuse a divorce if it finds that the spouse requesting the divorce is doing so in bad faith and has failed to cooperate or assist the other spouse.
Property Division In Cambodia
Courts will approve any property settlement that the parties to a divorce in Cambodia agree to, so long as it is ‘fair’ (Article 980 of the Civil Code). When there is no agreement the court will divide property having regard to:
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, maintenance and increase in value of the property
- The length of the marriage
- The age, mental and physical condition of each spouse,
- Each spouse’s occupation
- Income and earning capacity of the parties
Courts will also consider the welfare of any children when deciding how to divide marital assets.
Children And Cambodian Divorce
The Civil Code describes the parent who has custody of a child following divorce as the ‘parental power holder’. If the parties can’t agree on custody the court will base its decision solely on the interests of the child.
Unlike many other civil law systems the Cambodian Civil Code doesn’t provide for joint custody. The Code does however protect the parent who does not obtain custody by guaranteeing his or her right to meet and socialise with the child, and to be involved in decisions about education and similar matters.
Advice On Cambodian Divorce
If you have a connection to Cambodia and wish to divorce in England you should consider getting advice from international family law solicitors. At Brookman we advise clients from all over the world so we know the issues that typically arise in international divorce. By anticipating hurdles we can help ensure your divorce proceeds as smoothly as possible. This experience of handling divorces impacted by different legal systems means we can effectively advise you on your divorce if you have any links to Cambodia or elsewhere.
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