2016年3月14日 月曜日

Divorce in Hong Kong - Part 1

14th March 2016 (Monday)           
Katty Tsang

In Hong Kong, there are many international marriages.  There are times which I came across divorce cases of Japanese and non-Japanese couple.

Do allow me to share with you some of the basics on divorce procedures of Hong Kong, with a hope that this will serve you as a good reference.

Minimum One-Year Marriage
The parties must have married for at least one year before they can file a divroce.

However, if the circumstance is so special and with sufficient proof, one can apply with the court for permission to file a divorce even though the marriage lasted less than 12 months.

Who can file divorce petition?
Either of the parties to the marriage :
(a) was domiciled in Hong Kong at the date of the divorce application; or
(b) was habitually resident in Hong Kong throughout the period of 3 years immediately before the date of divorce application; or
(c) had a substantial connection with Hong Kong at the date of the petition or application.

Point (a) and Point (b) are self-explanatory.

Point (c) may be demonstrated by giving some examples : either party is a holder of a Hong Kong identity card, owns property, paying Hong Kong taxes... etc.

Grounds of Divorce
Section 11 of Matrimonial Causes Ordinance stated the five grounds of divorce.
A Petitioner can rely on one or more of these grounds for the divorce:
(a) Respondent has committed adultery;
(b) Petitioner and the Respondent had separated for at least two years:
(c) Petitioner and the Respondent had separated for at least one year and they consented to divorce;
(d) Unreasonable behaviour of the Respondent;
(e) Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for at least one year.

The Divorce Petition/ Application
The Petitioner shall file a Divorce Petition together with other documents in court to commence divorce application.  Family Court is located in the District Court, Wanchai. 
At present, the court filing fee is HK$630.00.

There are divorce cases filed by both the husband and wife under joint application.  This is only applicable to couple who agreed to the divorce and all other terms of divorce (like custody, financial provision/ ancillary relief) and, that they will not change their minds about any of the issues in a divorce case.

In Hong Kong, most cases of divorce are initiated by divorce petition.  Once a petition is issued, that is, the petition is affixed with the Hong Kong court's seal and case number is given, the Petitioner has one year's time to serve it on the Respondent.

How to serve the Petition to the Respondent?  By regular post or by hand.  If it is by hand, please arrange a third party to help the service of Petition on the Respondent.

投稿者 Kuribayashi Sogo Law Office



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