Friday, July 19, 2024

Understanding Divorce in Hong Kong

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It is never a pleasant thing to handle divorce papers, however, this is still an inevitable thing especially for women whose partners become abusive or committed infidelity. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a couple of things that you might want to know.

Petitioning for a Divorce
Every divorce starts with petitioning for one. This starts at the Family Court Registry. If you want to have a divorce without the consent of your partner then you can petition for a divorce alone, however, if it is a mutual decision, then the both of you should be able to petition your divorce together. An original copy of the marriage certificate is required to file your divorce petition.

If you have children below the age of 16, you should be able to fill out a statement of arrangement of children. In addition, you can only get divorced after one year of marriage unless the court sees the situation as an extreme case.


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The Matrimonial Causes Ordinance sees over the divorces in Hong Kong and a couple could only be divorced in Hong Kong if:

  • One of the parties is living in Hong Kong
  • One of the parties has been a resident of Hong Kong for three years before the date of the divorce application
  • One of the parties had a substantial connection with Hong Kong on the date of the divorce application

Grounds for Divorce
To get a divorce in Hong Kong, one of these reasons should be proven in order to terminate your marriage:

  • Adultery – one of the parties have been adulterous and the other party could prove it
  • Desertion – on of the parties left the other spouse against the wishes of the abandoned spouse
  • Consented Separation – both parties involved have agreed to the divorce and has been separated for at least a year. This should be proven in court.
  • Separation without consent – both parties has been separated for two years and one of them wished to have a divorce. The other party involved is not needed in this case
  • Unreasonable behavior – if one of the parties involved has behaved in an unreasonable manner that it is not possible for the other to live together anymore.

Divorce is pricey in any country however if you find yourselves getting divorced in Hong Kong, the court could order a disbursement of assets held overseas during the divorce proceedings. Besides this, courts in Hong Kong could also issue other orders during proceedings but taking into consideration these factors:

  • Income, earning capacity and financial resources of the couple involved
  • Needs, obligations and responsibilities of the couple
  • Standard of living enjoyed by the couple before the divorce
  • Age of the parties involved and the duration of marriage
  • Contributions made by each party individually for the welfare of the family
  • Physical or mental disability of any of the parties involved
  • Loss of benefit of any of the parties due to the divorce

These factors can issue the following:

  • Maintenance payments
  • Lump sum payments
  • Periodic secured or unsecured payments
  • Transfer/safe/settlement of property orders
  • Custody of Children
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The court tends to rule over in favor of either of the natural mother or father. However, the court would also come to a different conclusion including children under the age of 18 if:

  • The child has their own wish
  • Physical, emotional and educational needs of the child
  • Involvement of each parent into the day to day care of the child.
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