Legal Grounds For A Divorce In Turkey

Legal Reasons For Divorce In Turkey

Article 161 and following (161-166) sets provisions  of The Turkish Civil Code (No.4721) which define and explain the legal merits of a divorce case in Turkey. Those are;

  • Adultery
  • Attempted murder, ill-treatment or degrading behaviour
  • Conviction of a crime and/or dishonourable way of life
  • Abandonment
  • Mental disorder
  • Deteriaration of conjugal community

I. Adultery

The act of adultery of any one of the spouses is a cause for a divorce case. The classical definition of adultery in Turkish Law requires the fact of living together with someone else other than his or her spouse. A one time sexual intercourse with another third person is not deemed sufficient for a divorce case based on Adultery provisions of the Code but this act of disloyal behaviour is also reasons the divorce according to other provisios. In short, adultery is an ongoing, organized wrongful act of the faulty spouse mostly occurs as living (and spending night time) with another person in another place other than home. Betrayed spouse doesn’t have to prove any sexual relation between his (or her) and third person other than the fact of living with someone else in elsewhere.

The spouse who is entitled to file a divorce case with regard to adultery provisions of the Code should do so within the 6 months time limit following his (or her) acknowledgment of “the act of adultery” and within 5 years at most following the act. Finding out of an act of adultery which happened more than 5 years is not a valid reason for this provision of the code. The party who pardoned such an act has no right to depend on this provision either.

II. Attempted murder, ill-treatment or degrading behaviour

Either spouses has the right to file a case for the reasons of an attempted murder, ill-treatment or higly degrading behaviours of other spouse.

Same rules are applied as above regarding the time limit and pardon.

III. Conviction of a crime and/or dishonourable way of life

Conviction of a crime is mentioned as a legal reason for divorce int he provision. This “crime” might be a felony or a misdemenour which is also considered as a defamatory act, such as thieve, burglar or rape while the other spouse can not be expected to live together with the perpetrator of such a crime. Dishonourable way of life, such as earning live with degraded methods like begging or prostituting is also a legal reason for the divorce demand by the other spouse.

IV. Abandonment

An abandoned spouse has the right to file a divorce case against the spouse who abandoned the home in order to avoid of his (or her) obligations arosen from conjugal community (ie. marital bonds) and did not return within 6 months without a valid reason despite being warned by a court decision or an invitation sent through notary public. Faulty act which defined by the law as of not returning home should be ongoing by the time the written notice sent and continued until the end of the given time period.

A spouse who forced the other to leave home and/or prevented from going in is also considered as abandoning party.

Abandoned spouse must sent this above mentioned written notice which includes the time limit and the possible consequences (filing for divorce in that case) and wait for at least 2 months following the reciept of notice in order to file a case. Notice can not be sent before a time period of 4 months passed and case can not be filed before a time period of 2 months following the notice.

V. Mental Illness (Disorder)

If any of the spouses has been suffered from a mental illness which makes the joint life unbearable for the other one, a divorce case can be filed with the condition of obtaining a medical report by an official health board declaring there is no cure. The mental illness mentioned in the Code should be proved as incurable and the other spouse can not be expected to keep living together objecively.

VI. Deteriaration Of Conjugal Community

This is the most common and widley used legal reason for divorce cases in Turkey. Having not any specific definition within the text, any faulty action of each other spouses can be shown as a reason for filing a divorce case. If the conjugal community is deteriorated  on its basic foundation in a degree that none of the spouses can not be expected to keep going with it, each of the spouses can file a divorce case.

The complaining spouse (plaintiff-claimant) is not expected to prove his (or her) innocence but should not be faultier than the other one in order to get a divorce verdict. The contested spouse who has lesser fault is entitled to rise an objection. Though, if there is no respected benefits for the respondent or the children left to be worthy to protect, than this objection might be considered as a misuse of right and divorce decision can be given.  Equally (mutually) faulty spouse may get a divorce decision anyway but can not have a compensation in his/her favor.

If the marriage has lasted for at least 1 year and both spouses file for divorce jointly (uncontested divorce application) or a spouse accepts the others demand for divorce, conjugal community is deemed deterierated from ground. In this case the judge should listen to the parties in person in order to decide if their free will is intact and economic results and conditions of children they decided with their agreement is fit. The judge has the right to make any changes to this agreement which he thinks appropriate for the benefit of the parties or children. Only if both parties agreed on those rearrangements a divorce can be decided.

In the event of any divorce case based on any legal reason was rejected by the court , and 3 years passed following the finalized verdict, and a joint life could not be restored in anyway, conjugal community is deemed deterierated and upon request by any of the spouses a divorce decision shall be given.