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In order to start the divorce proceedings in Turkey, the marriage must be registered with the local Vital Statistics Office. If a foreign citizen followed the registration procedure in order to obtain the divorce he or she has to go to a civil court from where he or she will receive a court divorce decree. The foreigner can’t go to a court in another jurisdiction in order to get the documents for divorce, this process must be completed with a civil court from Turkey that will make the judgment. Complete legal advice in this matter can be offered by one of our Turkish lawyers.
Legal advice for divorce in Turkey
If assistance from a lawyer in Turkey is needed, the person seeking to divorce must grant the lawyer a power of attorney. You can request a private trial if you don’t want the public to be present in the courtroom and hear details about your marriage. In certain cases, the judge will accept the request and will start the trial closed to the public. The judge may decide to offer to the two parties a period of reconciliation between one and three years and only after that period, the divorce procedure may end. After the divorce, the woman usually goes back to her family name before the marriage. Here are extra details to consider:
Only if the judge approves, she can keep the ex-husband’s name after the divorce.
Almost a year after the divorce, the woman can’t get married again.
A new marriage in the next 300 days after the divorce is possible only if a judge approves it. In court, it can be settled that a future marriage can’t take place in the next period, no matter the reason.
The court decides on children issues related to custody and may force the parents to contribute to the children growth according to their income.
Child custody will be decided in court and the judge will choose the spouse who can provide the child with the needed care, both material and emotional. If the spouses separated because of issues like family violence, then one of the parties may ask for a limitation of the visitation rights. A lawyer in Turkey will help you with court representation, especially in those cases where the situation of the children needs to be carefully considered. You can also watch the video presentation we prepared for you:
Grounds for divorce in Turkey
Spouses can divorce in terms of incompatibility, understood as a case when the two individuals no longer share the same ideas and feelings. This is a common cause of divorce in Turkey, but other situations are also possible. The following represent the grounds for divorce accepted in a court in Turkey, as stated in the Turkish Civil Law:
maltreatment, physical violence or attempt to kill,
if one of the spouses has committed a crime,
desertion: if the spouses were separated for at least six months and the separation continues, the spouse that was deserted can file a lawsuit for divorce,
irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
The Turkish divorce procedure is not lengthy or complicated as it is based on the Swiss Family Law. This law put an end to the Islamic rules, different from the modern principles of family laws.
Types of divorce in Turkey
In Turkey, there are two major types of divorces: contentious divorce suit and consensual divorce. The first procedure implies one of the spouses to file for divorce because of the conflicts with the other party, adultery or mental illness. The uncontested divorce is when one of the spouses decides to finish the marriage, goes to the court and there is no objection related to the separation.
Court proceedings in case of contested divorces in Turkey
The procedures involved in court procedures related to contested and uncontested divorces are different. In the case of contentious divorces, the following procedure applies:
the party seeking for divorce must file a petition with the court;
the court will accept evidence from both spouses and hear both parties;
the court will also hear witnesses from both parties and make a decision;
the court will issue the final ruling on the divorce within 16 days from the decision.
Our law firm in Turkey can offer more information on this type of procedure.
Conditions for a consensual divorce in Turkey
After the new legislation was enabled, the consensual divorce procedure which was also simplified can occur only if:
the spouses have been married for at least one year;
an agreement was drafted and signed by both parties seeking the divorce;
both spouses come in front of the judge and announce their decision to divorce.
In this case, the presence of the lawyer in Turkey is not necessary; however, certain difficulties can appear which is why it is advisable to ask for legal services.
Procedure for consensual divorce in Turkey
In the case of an amicable divorce procedure, the most important step is to draft an uncontested divorce agreement which must contain:
information about the couple’s children and their custody, if applicable;
information about child and spouse support and maintenance;
information about the division of the assets obtained during the marriage;
other relevant information depending on the case and the agreement of the spouses.
The agreement will be filed together with the petition with the court which will give the final ruling within 16 days.
What must a divorce decree contain?
No matter the type of divorce procedure, the court must determine the following:
how the assets of the spouses are divided after the divorce is pronounced;
the compensation the parties are entitled to if this is the case;
if alimony must be paid to one of the spouses or children of the former couple;
how the legal expenses during the procedure will be paid and who will pay them.
The spouses must consent to the conditions imposed by the family court in Turkey. Also, if one of the spouses does not agree with one or more of the conditions, he or she has the right to contest the divorce. No matter the case, the court will always put the interest of the children first, where applicable.
one of the spouses has a Turkish citizenship while another is a foreign citizen;
both spouses are foreigners living in Turkey.
In the first situation, it is important to know that if the foreign spouse has filed for divorce in his or her home country, the Turkish citizen must also apply for divorce in Turkey. In the case of foreign citizens, any of the spouses have the right to apply for divorce in the Turkish city where he or she resides. In this case, one of the following laws will apply:
the law of the country where both foreigners are registered as residents, if they want to;
the law of the country where they both reside, even if this is not their home country;
the Turkish law if none of the options above is chosen.
Pre-nuptial agreement in Turkey
According to the Civil Code in Turkey, there are two different systems that regulate the marital property regime in this country. As such, the contract can be based on the legal marital property structure or a with the help of a separate nuptial arrangement. The same Civil Code stipulates that spouses can create nuptial contracts with information about the marital property, before, during, or after the marriage. Here are the forms of pre-nuptial agreements:
The pre-nuptial agreement can be completed at a public notary;
The marital property regime refers to the notification of spouses about the chosen at the time the marriage file is created.
In the case the spouses agree to choose a marital property regime during the marriage application, they need to inform the Turkish registrar of marriage in a writing application. On the other hand, if the partners prefer a single property regime with a pre-nuptial arrangement, as stated by Article 242 of the Civil Code in Turkey, each spouse can defend their rights on personal property. This means that each partner is responsible for their own debts related to the property, and on divorce, the spouses will not have the right to claim each other's estate. One should note that in Turkey, the judge has unequivocal authority concerning the conditions presented in a pre-nuptial agreement. You can discuss all the legal aspects of pre-nuptial agreements with our Turkish lawyers.
Pre- and post-nuptial agreements in case of foreign citizens' separation
In the case of divorce in Turkey of foreign citizens, the partners can specifically choose the internal law of the national law at the time of the marriage to govern the marital estate. In case, there is no such possibility, the common national law of the spouses at the time of marriage, or in the absence of common law, the internal law of the habitual domicile at the time of marriage will apply. Plus, if there is no habitual residence involved, then the Turkish legislation will apply. It is important to note that in case of property liquidation, the immovable property is regulated by the law of the country where it is located. Additionally, if the partners acquire a new common nationality on marriage, the principles of their new nationality might enter the discussion with a condition: if the rights of third parties are set aside, as stipulated by the Civil Code in Turkey.
FAQ about divorce in Turkey
1. Is a power of attorney necessary for a divorce in Turkey?
Yes, if you solicit legal help from our Turkish lawyers for the divorce process, a power of attorney is required.
2. What are the grounds for divorce in Turkey?
Adultery, maltreatment, unreasonable behavior, desertion, mental disease, and violence are among the grounds for divorce in Turkey.
3. What types of divorce are available in Turkey?
The consensual divorce and the contentious divorce suit are available in Turkey, according to the Civil Code.
4. How can a foreigner get a divorce in Turkey?
Foreign citizens relocated to Turkey can file for divorce in the home country, while the Turkish citizen will apply in the home country. If both spouses are from abroad, the divorce is concluded in Turkey.
5. What will the court of law in Turkey establish?
The personal properties of the spouses, child custody, alimony, and other compensations will be established in the court of law in the case of a divorce.
6. What is an uncontested divorce agreement?
The uncontested divorce agreement is the type of document available for the amicable divorce procedure in Turkey. You can discuss all the legal grounds with our Turkish lawyers.
7. When does a consensual divorce procedure applies?
The partners must be married for at least one year in order to file for divorce.
8. Why should I ask for the services of a lawyer in Turkey in the case of a divorce application?
The legislation related to divorce might seem complicated to foreigners, therefore, legal assistance offered by a Turkish attorney will prove extremely helpful. Here are some interesting statistics about marriage and divorce in Turkey:
Around 155,047 coupled divorces in Turkey in 2019.
About 23,264 foreign women got married in Turkey in the same year.
Around 4,508 foreign men got married in Turkey in 2019.
The decision on divorce proceedings of foreign citizens in Turkey will be made in accordance with the International Private and Procedural Code. The same principles will also apply in the division of assets and child custody after the divorce. If you need more details or legal assistance in court, you may contact our Turkish lawyers.
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Cagatay Altunsoy is the the co-founder and coordinator of CS Yonetim ve Destek Hizmetleri and he is an experienced specialist in company formation and business consulting services provided for foreign investors all over the world.