As a niche firm of international lawyers and divorce specialists we regularly advise individuals based in the UK with connections to an overseas territory like Nepal. Any divorce that may be impacted by the laws of another jurisdiction can become unnecessarily complicated if appropriate legal advice isn’t taken early on. You may be a Nepalese national who has lived in the UK for many years or you may be married to a Nepalese citizen. If any of these circumstances apply to you we can help. Here we outline some of the features of Nepalese family law that you may need to be aware of ahead of your divorce.
Grounds For Divorce In Nepal
Divorce is regulated in Chapter Three of the Nepalese National Civil Code. Couples can seek a divorce by mutual consent or, in the absence of agreement one party can petition the court for divorce.
Divorce by consent – Couples can agree to a divorce at any time. The process is quick (sometimes the decree can be issued in days) and cost effective. However most divorces obtained by consent don’t include property or financial claims. That’s to say the financially weaker spouse (usually the wife) will relinquish any financial claim he or she may have.
Divorce by order of the court – There are various grounds on which either spouse can seek a divorce without the consent of the other. These include three years’ separation, adultery and ‘physical or mental torture’. Grounds differ slightly depending on whether it is the husband or wife applying for the decree.
While ostensibly there is an equal right of men and women to divorce in Nepal, there remains great social stigma attached to being divorced – particularly for women. Accordingly wives will often opt for a low-key divorce by consent (and forfeit any property claims) to avoid the expense and delays of a contested hearing.
Division Of Property In A Nepalese Divorce
Courts encourage mediation to resolve property and financial disputes on divorce. If this fails the courts have extensive powers to enquire into finances and parties are required to make full disclosure of their assets. A party that hides assets is likely to have these transferred to the other spouse if the lack of disclosure is discovered.
Once financial disclosure has been made the court will consider the following factors before dividing the common property and/or issuing an order of payment of maintenance:
- Each side’s income and property
- The length of the marriage
- Age and health of each party
In certain cases the husband will not be required to pay maintenance or alimony (if he has no earning capacity for example). In addition in certain fault-based cases the wife may lose any claim she has to a husband’s property on divorce.
Child Custody In Nepal
Nepalese courts are obliged by the Civil Code to take custody decisions only in the best interests of the child. Physical custody of children under five is usually given to the other as she is presumed to be the natural guardian. However both parents will usually retain legal custody of children so they each have an ongoing responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child and a joint say when it comes to major decisions about the child.
Advice On Nepalese Divorce
If you have any legal connection to Nepal it’s important to get expert advice if you are considering a divorce. At Brookman we work with clients from all over the world who are seeking divorce in England. Our familiarity with widely differing legal systems means we can effectively advise you on those aspects of Nepalese divorce law that may impact your divorce settlement.
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