International Divorce & Family Law: Malaysia

British colonial influence in countries like Malaysia is illustrated by the impact English law still has on the territory. 1956 legislation enables Malaysian judges to apply English common law in family matters where no equivalent Malaysian law has been introduced.

As an international family law firm our clients include Malaysians resident in the UK, UK nationals with a Malaysian spouse and people who were married in Malaysia. Below are some of the things to bear in mind if you are getting a divorce and you or your estranged spouse have some connection to Malaysia.

Grounds For Divorce In Malaysia

For Malaysian courts to hear your divorce you must prove that the marriage has been registered in the country and you and your spouse are domiciled in Malaysia. It’s notable that a wife does not have her own domicile under Malaysian law. Instead she takes the same domicile as her husband.

Individuals can petition for divorce on the following grounds:

  • Where one spouse converts to the Islamic faith
  • No-fault mutual consent
  • Irretrievable breakdown on the basis of one of five facts (broadly similar to the grounds for divorce in England and Wales)

Financial Aspects Of Malaysan Divorce

Malaysian courts have more latitude than courts in other countries when it comes to dividing assets on divorce. Broadly speaking courts will divide equally all assets acquired during the marriage – whether gained by the sole effort of one spouse or through the efforts of both husband and wife. But the court will take into account the contributions of each spouse toward acquisition of the asset.

Property owned by one spouse before the marriage will be treated as though it were acquired during the marriage (and divided equally) if substantial improvements have been made to it during the marriage. Importantly the courts don’t adopt a strict, formulaic approach to asset division. Instead the aim is to make a fair division of the assets owned at the time of the divorce

Pre Nuptial Agreements In Malaysia

Legally prenuptial agreements aren’t recognised by the courts in Malaysia. But the growth in popularity of both pre and post nuptial agreements has led courts using them as an indicator of the parties intentions as regards asset ownership and division. But they will always be subject to the court’s overarching authority.

Children

In common with many jurisdictions the welfare of the child is the most important consideration when it comes to deciding where a child will live. In Malaysia there is a rebuttable presumption that a child under seven is better off living with the mother

Getting Advice On Malaysian Law

The case of Chai v Peng demonstrates the lengths to which some individuals will go to have their divorce decided by Malaysian rather than UK judges. That’s because in the UK judges are considered to be more generous to the financially weaker spouse. If you are a Malaysian living in the UK or have some connection to Malaysia and would like advice on how to issue proceedings in the UK Brookman can help.

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Divorce Videos

Henry Brookman has created several discussion videos in order to further explain some areas of divorce.

International Divorce

Watch Henry Brookman summarise divorce and common divorce myths.

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Henry Brookman Discusses: Divorce
Henry Brookman Discusses: Common Divorce Myths

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About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law firm, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Our principal Henry Brookman has practised law for over 40 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

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Henry Brookman

Henry Brookman is the founding Partner of Brookman Solicitors, described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

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Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner. She has been exclusively practising family law for over 15 years and is a recognised expert in her field.

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Aziz Malik

Aziz is an Associate Partner at Brookman. He is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and has been recommended by the Legal 500.

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Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

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Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings and financial claims.

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Gavin Yeung

Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings involving Hague Convention countries.

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Lorraine Imms

With over 20 years' family law experience, Lorraine can advise on divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements and private children matters.

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Victoria is a highly experienced Legal Secretary and a long-standing member of the team. She provides secretarial support for the office.

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Michelle Louison

Michelle provides secretarial support to Henry Brookman. A very experienced family law secretary, Michelle has worked in law for over 12 years.

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