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Marriage Annulments in Indonesia

Dissolving your marriage via annulment has more strict requirements than via divorce. A marriage can only be annulled in the event that the husband and wife do not fulfill the requirements for getting married. Therefore, both husband and wife have an equal and better opportunity to annul their marriage.

Who’s entitled to an annulment?

Unlike a divorce, there are many parties entitled to get a marriage annulled, beside husband or wife. They are family members in the vertical upward and downward descent line. Of course, the one having the most interest is the husband or wife.

In addition to the husband or wife, there will be an authorized official supervising the implementation of the marriage annulment, in the event the requirements for the marriage are not fulfilled. Finally, there are parties of interest that may have some knowledge of the lack of requirements of the marriage.

What are valid reasons for an annulment?

The reasons for a marriage annulment are unfulfilled requirements, such as:

  • if either spouse in the married couple is still bound in a marriage with another person so that the second marriage cannot be continued,
  • if the married couple are discovered to have a blood relationship,
  • if the marriage is conducted without the consent of a guardian or conducted by an invalid guardian,
  • if the marriage was forced,
  • and so on pursuant to the law.

Those are the most common reasons and an annulment can be based on any one of them.

The husband or wife may submit a petition for marriage annulment in the event the marriage was conducted under threat or if, at the time of marriage, there was a misunderstanding or one of the two parties believed that he/she was deceived. If the threat is stopped or the misunderstood party realizes his/her mistake, but within six months they still live as a married couple, and neither of them uses his/her right to annul the marriage, their right will be null and void.

Where should you go for an annulment?

The institution that can annul a marriage is a court of law, either a religious court for Moslems or a district court for non-Moslems. An annulment petition must be submitted to the court where the couple domiciles or in the area where their marriage was registered. The court shall apply the same procedures as in divorce proceedings. There will also be a cross examination to examine evidence and witnesses shall take the stand.

If the couple allows fourteen days to elapse and there is no appeal from either party, the court verdict shall then be effective and the annulment/court decision is legally binding. Still, you can’t turn the clock around!

A court’s decision on a marriage annulment is not effective upon the children born through the couple’s marriage. The parental relationship will not be annulled. The children are still legally the parents’ and they still have full obligations as a parent. So, it is necessary to remember that an annulment will not end the legal relationship between the children and the two parents. The annulment also does not effect an agreement with any third party. For example, you still need to pay mortgage installments which were acquired during the marriage, even though the marriage was subsequently annulled. The settlement must be made before the court decree is legally binding.

Above all, the courts are concerned about the parents being responsible for their children and making sure that the annulment and parental responsibilities are carried out legally.

At Wijaya & Co, we assist expats with legal issues and understanding their rights within the Indonesian legal system. This information is provided to assist the community; please feel free to forward it to others who might need the information.