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  • Avukat Baran DELİL

How Long Do Divorce Cases Take in Turkey? How Can the Process Be Accelerated In a Divorce Case? 2023

Delil Hukuk Bürosu

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What is a Divorce Case?

Divorce is one of the reasons that end the marriage union, such as death, absence and gender change. Divorce cases can be filed as a contested divorce case or an uncontested divorce case. Opening the divorce case as an uncontested divorce case or a contested case is extremely important in terms of the duration of the case, as we will explain in detail below. For this reason, it is extremely important to determine whether there is a will to agree between the parties regarding divorce and other matters related to divorce (for example: alimony, custody, compensation, division of property).

With the divorce decision, which can only be given by the court, the legal status of the couple changes and the marriage union between the parties ends legally.

However, a contested divorce case must also be filed on the basis of one of the reasons for divorce, which are limited in the law. The reasons for a contested divorce can be listed as follows according to Turkish Civil Law:

  1. Divorce due to severe incompatibility,

  2. Divorce due to adultery (cheating),

  3. Divorce due to committing a crime and leading a dishonorable life,

  4. Divorce due to abandonment,

  5. Divorce due to intent on life, dishonorable behavior or severe ill-treatment,

  6. Divorce due to mental illness

In this article, we will specifically address the issue of how long the divorce cases which are filed in Turkey last. However, if you want to learn about how divorce cases can be filed in Turkey and how the process will be managed in these cases: you can read our article on this subject: How to Get a Divorce in Turkey?

How Long Do Divorce Cases Take in Turkey?

As we mentioned above, the duration of divorce cases differs depending on whether the case is filed as an uncontested divorce case or a contested divorce case.

In practice::

  • Uncontested divorce cases can be concluded in an average of 1 to 3 months, depending on the workload of the family court that will handle the case.

  • Contested divorce cases, on the other hand, can result in an average of 3 to 5 years, together with the appeal processes.

In the following, we will try to clarify this situation by treating the reasons why the deadlines are like this in terms of both types of cases separately.

a) How Long Does the Uncontested Divorce Case Take in Turkey?

Uncontested divorce cases can be concluded in an average of 1 to 3 months in practice. In the uncontested divorce case, following the preparation of the uncontested divorce protocol, the petition is submitted to the on-duty family court and the necessary fees and expenses should be paid.

After the uncontested divorce protocol is submitted to the court in the annex of the lawsuit petition, a memorandum of authorization is drawn up by the court and the hearing date is determined and notified to the parties. The parties shall be ready in person in front of the courtroom on the day of the hearing, and by attending the hearing in person, they verbally declare before the judge that they are verbally approving the issues in the agreed divorce protocol and record it in the minutes. Subsequently, the court decides on a consensual divorce. After the reasoned decision regarding the uncontested divorce is written, the reasoned decision should be published in the communiqué and the decision should be finalized.

There are two important things to know here:

  1. The parties have to attend the uncontested divorce hearing in person. Contrary to contentious divorce cases, it is not sufficient for the parties to represent themselves with their lawyers and to convey their verbal statements through their lawyers in the hearings to be held in uncontested divorce cases.

  2. In the uncontested divorce case, with the establishment of the divorce provision at the hearing, the decision does not automatically become final, thus, the marriage union between the parties continues for a while. In order for the divorce decision to become finalized, the notification process regarding the reasoned decision should be followed according to the Turkish Notification Law and the finalization request should be submitted to the court with a petition at the end of this process. The parties should not be under the illusion that the divorce will be realized automatically after the hearing of the uncontested divorce case and should fulfill the necessary procedural procedures.

The process we have explained above may vary from court to court. Some courts, whose workload is less than other family courts, can set a hearing date much closer than others and can end the divorce process within 1 month, together with the notification period. However, especially for metropolitan cities, it is seen that the hearing date is usually given 2-3 months later. This is due to the fact that the workload of the courts in metropolitan cities such as İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Antalya is much more intense.

b) How Long Does a Contested Divorce Case Take in Turkey?

Contested divorce cases, together with the appeal and appeal processes, can be concluded in an average of 3-5 years. In cases with foreign persons, this period may be increased for various reasons such as translation and similar reasons. Due to this loss of time, it is generally recommended for couples to choose an uncontested divorce if there is an agreement that is reasonable and within the limits of mutual respect.

In a contested divorce case, first of all, there is the exchange of petitions, and the parties mutually submit their petitions in accordance with the relevant procedural law rules. If the defendant against whom a lawsuit has been filed intends to file a counterclaim, he may submit a counterclaim along with the reply petition.

After the completion of the exchanging of the petitions, the court decides a hearing date for the preliminary examination and a time is given for the submission of the evidence petitions for the parties. In the preliminary examination hearing to be held, it is determined that there is no missing point regarding the case conditions and the first objections, and the investigation phase begins.

In the hearings to be held during the investigation phase, the witnesses are heard, a warrant is written to the places where a warrant should be written, and an answer is awaited for the writ letters. If nothing goes wrong, the investigation phase can be terminated by the time 3 to 5 hearings took place. However, weeks and even months pass between these hearings, and therefore it takes at least 1 year to establish a verdict only in the court of first instance. In case of appeal, it may take 3-5 years for the divorce decision to become final.

What Can Be Done to Accelerate the Process in Divorce Cases?

It is recommended to work with a divorce lawyer who is an expert in the field in order to carry out the process as quickly as possible in divorce cases. In fact, in Turkey, lawyers do not specialize only in a certain field such as "divorce lawyer" or "criminal lawyer" and every lawyer can do all kinds of work for which he is duly authorized. However, lawyers who have knowledge and experience in divorce cases are called divorce lawyers among the people.

To give some brief examples, the following actions can be taken to speed up the divorce process:

  • Following the filing of the uncontested divorce case, this situation can be asked by going to the court office to find out whether a hearing date can be taken to an early date before the memorandum of determination is prepared. If there is any urgency situation that requires the hearing date to be brought forward, this situation can be reported verbally or if this is not sufficient, a petition can be prepared and documents proving the urgency of the request petition (airline ticket, etc.) can be submitted to the case file. After the hearing of the uncontested divorce case is completed, after the reasoned decision is written, it is possible to go to the court office immediately and receive notification of the reasoned decision by hand. Thus, the loss to be experienced due to the notification process can be eliminated. Also, in practice, some family court clerks and judges accept petitions for waiver of appeal. For this reason, it can be requested that an annotation of finalization be added to the file by giving a petition of waiver of the appeal.

  • In contested divorce cases, on the other hand, witnesses are prepared and listened to at the hearing in order to complete the investigation process quickly. In addition, careful follow-up of the replies to be given to the writs, whether the necessary writ letters have been written to the persons and institutions to which the writ is to be written, and whether the notification has been duly provided, will eliminate a serious loss of time. However, it should not be forgotten that contested divorce cases take much longer than uncontested divorce cases, no matter how fast they are carried out.

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