Regardless of where you currently live and work as long as you were married in Turkey or at a Turkish Embassy and hold an official Marriage Certificate/Book you have the right to petition the court for a divorce in Turkey.
Grounds for divorce
Turkish family law originates from within Swiss Family Law. In Turkish Law there are two types of divorce cases: Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce. In both cases the ground for divorce needs to be qualified and especially for contested divorce the grounds needs to be proven by the applicant.
Grounds for Contested Divorce Cases:
Either spouse may bring a case to the court in order to end the martial relationship. The case must be brought to the competent court (usually the defendants region where they were last registered).
There are two main type of grounds (General or Specific) for contested divorce cases in Turkish family law.
1) General grounds: High-conflict divorce/ marriage which has irretrievably broken down:
If the disputes between spouses have put them apart and it is not possible for them to continue the marital life together in other word if the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and there is a conflict in between spouses; in this case either spouse can petition to court for divorce. Court specifically looks into the facts, as to whether it is possible for the couple to continue a marital life together and whether the grounds the couple has established their marriage on to is still solid or not.
2) Specific grounds: These grounds are listed in Turkish Civil code as follows:
a) Adultery: Although with the recent changes in Turkish Criminal Law Adultery is not a criminal act it is still listed as a specific ground for divorce. Physical relationship is deemed as an Adultery and gives the right to the spouse petition the court. If either spouse would be in physical relationship with a third party, during the marital life the other spouse has the right to apply for divorce under Adultery.
b) To make an attempt on other party’s life/bad treatment: This ground on its own is a reason for the divorce, the court would not look in whether the marital life has been damaged as a result of this action or not. If there is a criminal complaint as well Court would look into those facts as well.
c) Committing Crime and having dishonorable life: If spouse’s life becomes intolerable as a result of other spouse’s behavior such as committing a crime or having dishonorable life then suffering spouse has the right to petition the court for divorce under these grounds.
e) Desertion: If one the spouses has left the marital home to avoid his/her responsibilities and would not come back without any rightful reasons and if such desertion lasts more than 6 months suffering spouse has the right to petition the court for divorce under these grounds.
f) Mental illness: In the event of one of the spouses has got mental illness within the marital life and its approved that there is no treatment of such illness and if it is not possible/tolerable for the other spouse to continue the marital life then that spouse has the right to petition the court for divorce under this grounds.
Procedure for Contested Divorce Cases:
1) Drafting the petition
2) Submitting the petition to the relevant Court and get the other party served,
3) Exchanging the claims & evidences,
4) Court listens each party’s witnesses,
5) Court forms its opinion and make its judgment,
6) Once the Judgment is written on the 16th day the Court issues the final divorce.
Grounds for Uncontested Divorce Cases:
If marriage has continued more than 12 months and with the mutual consent of each spouse parties can apply for uncontested divorce. However if marriage has lasted less than 12 months again parties with their mutual consent can apply to the court and ask to be divorced just in this case they need to put one of the specific grounds as a reason. In this case spouses need to submit their Uncontested Divorce Agreement along with their uncontested divorce petition to the competent court. Usually parties are not needed to be present.
Procedure for Uncontested Divorce Cases:
1) Drafting the petition,
2) Drafting the Uncontested Divorce Agreement which includes
a. Custody matters
b. Financial and/or property matters
c. Child maintenance matters,
3) Submitting the petition along with the UDA to the relevant Court,
4) Court forms its opinion and make its judgment,
5) Once the Judgment is written on the 16th day the Court issues the final divorce.
How long will it take?
The length of time it takes to get a divorce, from beginning to end, varies from court to court and in each case. It is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take, because during the proceedings problems may arise which cause delay. At best, it will take from four to six months. The time it takes, and the stress involved in the process, can be greatly reduced by keeping on top of dates and going to the court yourself to lodge documents. If you use a Solicitor make sure they have applied for the various stages when they arise. Financial and child-related matters have separate timescales of their own.