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Divorce Agreement (Divorce Petition)

  • The petitioner must be able to prove that you have reasons (or “”grounds””) for saying that the marriage is at an end. The term the court uses is “”the marriage has irretrievably broken down””.

Jurisdiction in divorce

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How long do I need to wait before filing for a divorce?

The court will accept one or more of the following grounds as proof:

  • that your spouse has committed adultery and that you find it intolerable to live with him / her
  • that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot be reasonably expected to live with him / her
  • that you and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 1 year before filing the petition and
  • that he / she agrees to a divorce that you and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years before filing the petition (in such a case your spouse’s consent to a divorce is not required)
  • that your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least 1 year before filing the petition

Divorce Agreement

Application for Separation Agreement

  • Therefore, even if both spouses agree to divorce by mutual consent, the divorce will not be effective until the court gives a divorce decree. Very often, a separation agreement is signed before or at the beginning of the divorce proceedings in order to reach a agreement on the disputes or issues arising during the divorce proceedings, and the separation agreement legally recognized by the court as a court order shall remain in full force and effect for both parties. In the course of divorce proceedings, both spouses can, with the help of their lawyers, reach an agreement on the following matters:

  1. Consent to divorce
  2. Distribution of matrimonial property, e.g. former matrimonial home, property investments, shares, cash and funds
  3. Liability and repayment of debts
  4. Maintenance payments
  5. Child custody, visitation rights, guardianship issues
  6. Amount of child maintenance
  7. Other relationship-related issues

helping you in family court

Managed Divorce Service Fees

Our Managed divorce services include:

  • The Kingdom Consultancy’s managed divorce services can help cope with child custody, alimony as well as property division issues. Through face-to-face consultation meetings, your application will be handled in a time-saving, efficient and professional manner.

Other managed divorce services available:

  1. HK-China Cross-border Divorce Settlement
  2. Notice of Separation
  3. Manage application for custody, care and control of the child(ren)
  4. Manage application for financial support which includes family assets, properties and monthly alimony payments
  5. Illegitimacy
  6. Recover or modify alimony
  7. Restraining order
  8. Explaining the assessment of general separation/unreasonable behaviour
  9. Hearing Advisory Service
  10. Assessment of children’s living expenses

It takes five months to complete all procedures for an uncontested divorce (Interim divorce order can occur within three months) 

Frequently Asked Questions on Divorce Agreement

In Hong Kong, there is no specific legislation concerning such automatic divorces or marriages.

For 2 years’ separation, the petitioner can only petition unilaterally for a divorce, all of which will be decided by the Family Court of Hong Kong. If the case involves a dispute over alimony or custody, the court will be allowed to grant a decree absolute only after all disputes have been resolved.

  • Many people think that if they criticize the unreasonable behaviour of the other party, the court will punish the other party and they will get more money. The courts in Hong Kong have long taken the position that unless the behavior is extremely serious, the court will not intervene to decide whether the couple is right or wrong. Generally speaking, adultery, spousal assault and neglect of the family are not classified as “serious” by the court and will not have any impact on the division of assets upon divorce.

Domestic violence does not only covers physical violence, but also covers any act that is regarded as ‘molestation’. Therefore, the following acts can also be possibly treated as domestic violence:

  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Psychological abuse

If you or your children are assaulted or threatened by your spouse/partner or person listed in the previous section, you should report the matter to the police. For any emergency, please contact 999.

Under the Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Ordinance (Cap. 189), an application can be made by the eligible person to the District Court or the Court of First Instance, the court may grant an injunction which either:

  1. restrains the offender from using violence against the applicant or a child living with the applicant;
  2. or excludes the offender from the matrimonial/shared home or from a specified part of the matrimonial/shared home or from a specified area, regardless of ownership of the property.

Where a Power of Arrest has been attached to an injunction, a police officer may arrest, without warrant, if you are being abused and threatened again by the perpetrator.

2) How long do the injunction orders last?

The maximum length of an injunction order is 24 months. The order can be renewed once as the court sees appropriate.

3) Can I apply for injunction orders without informing the abuser?

The Court may make an order at first without the abuser being told about it. In other words you may apply to the Court without telling him/her what you are going to do.

However, the written order must be served upon the perpetrator before it is of any effect. You must therefore take steps to ensure that you are in a place of safety until the order has been served.

A party to a marriage may choose to move out of the matrimonial home even if a petition for divorce cannot be filed.

If certain conditions do not allow one party to move out of their matrimonial home, it is still possible for the married couple to live in the same house, but this type of separation under the same roof may be accepted by the court only if the parties live as if they were living separately, e.g. sleeping in separate rooms or in separate beds, no sex life, eating separately, etc., and the other party is aware of the intention of the petitioner to separate.

This type of separation does not require additional proof.

For example, a couple who live and work in two separate places, but still see each other on holidays, go out with friends and see each other’s relatives as husband and wife. Suddenly, the woman received a divorce petition from her husband, saying that they had lived apart for at least 2 consecutive years. Since the wife was totally unaware of her husband’s intention to separate, she contested the petition.

In this type of contested separation, it is best to prepare separation papers in advance so that the petition for divorce can be filed later on on the basis of 2 years of separation.

Very often, during a divorce, a married couple tends to avoid seeing their spouse, and generally, all that is required for the execution of a divorce agreement is for the party who files for a divorce to sign the paper, and the signed paper can be posted to the other party, or a third party non-applicant can help deliver it to the other party, and the respondent can sign the paper and return it to our firm for further processing.

Once both parties have signed the petition and responded to the petiton, the divorce is validated by the court that issues a decree absolute using Form 6. As the Family Court needs to handle over 20,000 divorce cases each year, it usually takes at least six months to obtain a court order.

Grounds upon which marriage after 30 June 1972 will be voidable:

(1) That the marriage has not been consummated due to the incapacity or refusal of one party to do so (Ground 1)

(2) Either party to the marriage did not validly consent to it due to reasons such as duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind (Ground 2)

(3) Either party was suffering from mental disorder at the time of the marriage (Ground 3)

(4) Either party was suffering from communicable venereal disease (Ground 4)

(5) The respondent was pregnant by some person other than the petitioner at the time of the marriage (Ground 5)

Thematic Perspectives

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