If you have reached a point in your marriage where you are considering divorce, here’s what you should know.
16 August 2017| Last updated on 16 August 2017
Divorce is always difficult for all those involved. It becomes even more complicated when it happens while you are living abroad.
To initiate divorce in Hong Kong, a petition needs to be filed with the Family Court Registry in Wan Chai. If you are initiating the divorce alone, then you will have to file it. However, if it’s a joint decision, then you must jointly file the petition. If you have children younger than 16 years old, you’ll also be required to complete a statement for the arrangement of children.
With the exception of extreme hardship or depravity cases, you won’t be able to file a petition for divorce if you have been married for less than a year.
Make sure you have an original, certified copy of your marriage certificate or you won’t be able to file the petition.
Grounds for divorce
In order to obtain a divorce in Hong Kong, you’ll need to be able to prove there’s a reason behind it. The courts will accept the following situations:
- Desertion for one year or more
- Consented separation, wherein both parties involved want a divorce and have been separated for at least a year
- Separation without consent, wherein you’ve both been separated for two years and now one of you wants a divorce
- Unreasonable behaviour
The costs will vary based on the case. However, it will generally cost between HK$15,000 to 20,000.
If both of you have consented to getting a divorce and there no other complication, then you’ll be able to get a tentative order for divorce within three to four months. The final order would then come within another one to two months.
If it’s only initiated by one of you or there are other disagreements regarding finances or custody, then you can expect it to take longer.
Custody of children
When it comes to children under 18 years old, the court will take into consideration several factors, including:
- What the child wants
- The physical emotional and education needs of the child
- Each parent’s involvement in the care of the child on a daily basis
If you can’t agree amicably on custody, then the court use ask for a report from the Director of Social Welfare which recommends what type of custody is best.