Marriage & Divorce

REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE

1.    What if a marriage is not solemnised according to the provisions of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976?

A marriage that is not solemnised according to the provisions of the act is deemed to be INVALID. When the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) came into force on 1.3.1982, it became COMPULSORY for all monogamous non-Muslim marriages to be registered under the act.
 
2.    What is a MONOGAMOUS MARRIAGE?

A monogamous marriage means that after the effective date of Act 164, a person who is lawfully married under any law cannot lawfully marry again with any other person during the continuance of such marriage, whether in Malaysia or in any other country.

3.    What is the penalty for marrying more than one person?

Any person lawfully married under any law, religion, custom or usage who during the continuance of such marriage purports to contract a marriage shall be deemed to commit the offence of marrying again during the life-time of his/her spouse under Section 494 of the Penal Code.
 
4.    Who may solemnise a marriage?

A marriage may be solemnised only by a Registrar of Marriages appointed under Act 164 at the National Registration Department of Malaysia and the Malaysian consulates or an Assistant Registrar of Marriages in a temple, church or association.

5.    Can someone not appointed as the Registrar of Marriages conduct a marriage ceremony?

No. It is an offence if he/she does it, and on conviction, the person may be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and to a fine not exceeding RM15,000 (fifteen thousand ringgit).

6.    What is the penalty for providing false personal information by any person intending to marry or registering a marriage?

On conviction, the person may be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding RM3,000.00 (three thousand ringgit) or to both.

 
7.    Can the 21-day period to publish the application form, notice of marriage and written declaration (JPN.KC02) be EXEMPTED for marriages to be solemnised at the National Registration Department?

Yes. Parties intending to marry may apply for a special licence under Section 21 (1) of Act 164, where the application maybe made for a marriage licence without marriage notification and marriage declaration (JPN.KC01C) from the marriage registration authority in the state concerned. Payment for this special licence on approval is RM100.00 (one hundred ringgit).

8.    Can the registration of marriage be done at an association/temple/church?

The registration of marriage under Act 164 can be carried out only at an association/temple/church where the NRD has appointed an Assistant Registrar of Marriages. The Assistant Registrar of Marriages will be issued with a certificate of appointment for a specified period of time to conduct marriage registration at the place specified in the certificate of appointment according to Act 164 and must comply with the department directives. Registration of marriages at an association/temple/church MUST be followed with the solemnisation of marriage according to custom/religion in a public ceremony. Action will be taken against the Assistant Registrar of Marriages who carries out only registration of civil marriages without a marriage ceremony according to customs religion.

9.    Is the registration of marriage under Act 164 applicable to the Sabah and Sarawak bumiputera community and the Orang Asli?

No. The solemnisation of marriage according to the customs of Sabah and Sarawak bumiputera natives or the indigenous peoples is recognised by the Government of Malaysia. However, any questionable customary marriage certificates must be verified by the Native Court of Sabah or the Customary Native Court of Sarawak or the Department of Orang Asli Affairs. Couples who married according to their respective customs SHALL NOT re-register their marriage under Act 164 at the NRD office but may voluntarily register them under the Registration of Marriages Ordinance 1952. In cases where couples wish to marry under Act 164 and not under their respective customs, the registration of marriage can be done according to the prescribed procedures at the NRD and all conditions and regulations under Act 164 must be adhered to.

10.    What action should be taken if either one or both the couple are citizens of Malaysia who were married abroad under the civil law of that country?

The couple need to re-register their marriage under Section 31 of Act 164 either at the nearest NRD office or at a Malaysian consulate. The re-registration of marriage MUST be made within 6 months of the date of marriage, after which a fine will be imposed for late registration.
 
 
REGISTRATION OF CONFIRMATION OF DIVORCE/DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

1.    What is a decree nisi absolute?

A decree nisi absolute is a divorce document issued by the High Court as valid confirmation of the dissolution of a marriage. The High Court will issue a decree nisi in advance and after three (3) months, a decree nisi absolute will be issued on application by the applicant where the date of the dissolution of marriage is stated. One ORIGINAL copy or a certified copy by the High Court must be submitted to the Marriage and Divorce Division at the Putrajaya NRD Headquarters for the purpose of updating records and marital status.

2.    What should one do if the decree nisi absolute is lost?

Applicants can obtain a copy of the original from the appointed lawyer or a certified true copy from the High Court concerned.

3.    What are the necessary conditions for filing a petition for divorce?

The petition for divorce can be filed only after the expiration of two (2) years from the date of marriage. If both parties to the marriage agree to dissolve their marriage, they may enter a divorce petition in the High Court. However, if one party does not agree to divorce, then the matter will be referred to the Marriage Tribunal at the National Registration Department of Malaysia.

4.    What steps should be taken if the marriage was solemnised abroad under the civil laws of the country and dissolved in the court of that country?

For a civil marriage solemnised abroad and dissolved under the laws of a foreign country, either parties to the marriage who is a citizen of Malaysia needs to obtain a declaration order from the High Court in Malaysia pursuant to Section 107 (3) of Act 164. Although the marriage may have been re-registered at the Malaysia a consulate or at the NRD under Section 31, the Registrar-General of Marriages does not have the authority to register the divorce documents from the foreign court without a declaration order from the High Court of Malaysia.
 
 
MARRIAGE TRIBUNAL

1.    What is a conciliatory body?

A conciliatory body means:-
a council set up for the purpose of reconciliation by the appropriate authority of any religion, community, clan or association; a Marriage Tribunal of the National Registration Department of Malaysia in a state/district; or any other body approved by the minister by notice in the gazette.

2.    Who can be appointed as a member of the Marriage Tribunal?

Other than officers and staff of the NRD, officials from the Department of Social Welfare, members of NGOs, retired government officials and interested individuals with the qualifications or experience in psychology, counselling and guidance may be appointed as members of the tribunal.

3.    Under what conditions are parties to a marriage NOT REQUIRED to refer to a Marriage Tribunal?

Reference to the Marriage Tribunal may be exempted where:-
i.    Either party to the marriage has embraced Islam.
ii.    Both parties to the marriage agree to divorce by mutual consent.
iii.    The petitioner has been deserted by and does not know the whereabouts of the spouse.
iv.    The respondent is residing abroad and is unlikely return to Malaysia within 6 months of the date of the petition.
v.    The respondent has been required to appear before a conciliatory body and has will fully failed to attend.
vi.    The respondent is imprisoned for a term of five years or more.
vii.    The petitioner alleges that the respondent is suffering from an incurable mental disease.
viii.    The court is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances which make reference to a conciliatory body impracticable.

4.    How does one refer a problem to the Marriage Tribunal at the National Registration Department (NRD)?

The petitioner needs to submit an application at the nearest NRD office. If both parties live in different areas, then the application for a Marriage Tribunal must be made at the NRD office nearest the place of residence where they last stayed together. The applicant is required to complete and sign Form JPN.KC14 and submit it at the counter of the Marriage and Divorce Division, of the NRD.

 
5.    What should be done after the 6-month period of the Marriage Tribunal has expired?

If the Marriage Tribunal fails to reconcile the couple, a declaration (JPN.KC29) will be issued to the couple. The declaration must be submitted together with the application for divorce to the court, if applicable. If the couple reconcile or wish to cancel the application to divorce, they have to complete and sign the letter of revocation/withdrawal/reconciliation (JPN.KC28).
 
LETTER VERIFYING MARITAL STATUS

1.    Why is the letter verifying marital status issued by only the National Registration Department Headquarters in Putrajaya and not state branches?

The letter verifying marital status is issued to Malaysian citizens for the purpose of official transactions overseas pertaining to work, study and marriage or for the purchase of property or checks by the relevant authorities overseas. The letter MUST be certified by the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia (Wisma Putra) in Putrajaya before it can be used overseas. The letter verifying marital status is issued by the Registrar-General of Marriages at the Putrajaya NRD Headquarters as the custodian of records for non-Muslim marriages in Malaysia.

MARRIAGE REGISTRATION BY AN ASSISTANT REGISTRAR OF MARRIAGES

1.    My partner and I are both Chinese Buddhists from Perak. Since we work in Kuala Lumpur, we plan to hold a Chinese customary/religious marriage ceremony and civil registration at a temple in Klang, Selangor. What is the procedure for the marriage?

Firstly, you and your partner need to obtain the Marriage Registration Application Form (Form JPN.KC02) at the nearest state/district/sub-district NRD office or from the Assistant Registrar of Marriages of any temple or download it from the NRD Portal at www.jpn.gov.my.

Secondly, both of you need to make a statutory declaration in Section D.2 of Form JPN.KC02 before a commissioner for oaths or Justice of Peace or a magistrate in court.

Thirdly, you and your partner need to go to any state/district/sub-district NRD office (Marriage Division) to check personal details and marital status and obtain a confirmation stamp on the front page of Form JPN.KC02. A fee of RM20.00 will be incurred.

Finally, submit Form JPN.KC02 together with the RM20.00 payment receipt to the Assistant Registrar of Marriages at the temple for marriage solemnisation and registration.
 
2.    Where can the Marriage Registration Application Form (Form JPN.KC02) be obtained?

There are three (3) ways of obtaining the Marriage Registration Application Form (Form JPN.KC02):
i.    Marriage counters at state/district/sub-district NRD offices.
ii.    Assistant Registrars of Marriages at temples/churches/associations who have been appointed under Section 28 (3) of Act 164
iii.    Download it from the National Registration Department (NRD) Portal at www.jpn.gov.my.

3.    What documents should we submit at the marriage counter during our visit to the NRD office to check our personal details and marital status?

Form JPN.KC02 for which a statutory declaration has been made in Section D.2 before a commissioner for oaths/Justice of Peace/magistrate in court and the respective MyKads of the couple. Both parties must be present.

4.    What is fee the couple needs to pay for the registration of marriage in a temple/church/association?

The fee is RM20.00 only. Payment must be made at the marriage counter at the NRD office and the receipt will be issued in the name of the male partner.

5.    Can either one of the couple intending to marry go to the NRD counter to check the personal details and marital status, and obtain the confirmation stamp on the front page of Form JPN.KC02?

No. This is to ensure that both parties intending to marry know the truth about their partners before entering a marriage registration at a temple/church/association, particularly with regard to marital status.

6.    Can the Assistant Registrar of Marriages check the details in Form JPN.KC02 on behalf of the applicant at the NRD office?

No. Couples who intend to marriy must be serious and committed in handling their marriage registration application. The presence of the couple at the NRD counter ensures that any problems or doubts pertaining to the couple’s personal records will be resolved on the spot. Furthermore, personal details and marital status may not be given to a third party for fear that the information may be prejudical or embarrassing to the parties concerned.

7.    Can the applicants opt for the solemnisation and registration of marriage at the NRD office instead of a temple/church/association after checking the personal details and marital status?

The applicants have the option whether to conduct the solemnisation and registration of marriage at the NRD office, temple/church/association or elsewhere through the approval of a special licence under Section 21 (Form JPN.KC01E). The registration of marriage must be made by the appointed Registrar and solemnised in an orderly and systematic manner in accordance with the law.

8.    Can the Assistant Registrar of Marriages for the Hakka Association (which represents a Chinese clan ) carry out the solemnisation and registration of marriage for all Chinese?

No. The Assistant Registrar of Marriages for the Hakka Association, which represents the Hakka clan of the Chinese community, is appointed to represent the Hakka Chinese only and therefore, conducts the solemnisation and registration of the Hakka customary marriage ceremony only. At least one of the couple must be from the Hakka clan.

For any other queries, please submit them via e-Enquiry (NRD SISPAA) at http://jpn.spab.gov.my