Saturday 24th of February 2024

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Select your most appropriate life partner Separation is not easy as partnering

2022-06-29 7773


Two people get married on love or a proposal and decide to go on their combined journey. .But there are also instances to separate on various issues and inconsistencies. But marriage is a universal contract. The dissolution of such an agreement must be done in a legal manner.

There are two common types of ending a legal marriage or divorce under the law. One type is a marriage coming to an end naturally with the death of a one person. The second type in ending a marriage bond is through a court order or through a divorce.  There is a legal background to know about ending a marriage by divorce.

The base of getting a divorce


According to Section 19 of the General Marriage Registration Ordinance No. 19 of 1907 in Sri Lanka, in order to dissolve a marriage, one of the following three reasons must be proved.

* Adultery after marriage

* Malicious abandonment

* Incurable sexual dysfunction

Malicious abandonment


Under normal marriage law, it is recognized that a valid marriage cannot be dissolved during the lifetime of a married couple except by a court decision given on the above grounds. In addition, court decisions recognize that an innocent party can obtain a divorce decision based on an approved malicious abandonment.

There is a difference between malicious abandonment and approved malicious abandonment. What we commonly refer to as malicious divorce is when one party deliberately leaves the spouse and live separately from the marital home with the intention of ending the marriage.

Having occasional quarrels and ill feelings may be common among married couples. Also, there is a saying in our folklore that all these quarrels remain only 'until the pot of rice is cooked'. It should be well understood that staying away from the marital home for a couple of days due to such petty quarrels is not a malicious abandonment. When such a situation arises, it is important for both parties to discuss calmly and try to reconcile such feelings, which will lead to a successful marriage.

But if a married man or woman leaves his or her spouse and lives outside the marital home for a very long duration with no intention of returning, it will provide a basis for the other party to obtain a divorce.

In such cases, there is a sense of cruelty between the two. For example, leaving the wife and living in another house with another woman is a malicious abandonment. Here we can understand that the guilt of adultery is also linked to this phenomenon and that it causes cruel pain to the wife. It is also possible for a wife to leave her husband and move to her parental home or other place of residence, which can lead to malicious abandonment. It should be understood that a decision has to be made based on the nature of each event.

The decision of divorce can be prevented if at some point the person who maliciously left the spouse returns home and wishes to succeed the marriage and the other party is prepared to accept the spouse. It is the agreed or innocent party that leaves the marital home due to the inability to sustain the wicked behavior of the spouse that we describe as malicious abandonment.

For example, a wife who leaves her marital house because she cannot further sustain her husband's harassments and assaults, she can demand for divorce under the condition of malicious abandonment.

What is important to understand here is that the person who creates the environment for the other person to leave the marital home, he or she cannot demand the divorce.  In this circumstance, the person who seeks the divorce should be able to prove that the behavior of the spouse who creates the environment to leave the marital house paves the way for such an abandonment. The court of law should be convinced that the behavior of the spouse was so harmful for him or her to leave the marital home.  

For example

 * Frequent assaults and mental pressure

* Having illicit affairs and neglecting children and the spouse

* Destructive behavior due to drug addiction

* Making life threats

It should be kept in mind that the decision to end a marriage should e well thought and it is better to enter into married life with good understanding before the marriage instead of getting divorced.


Chathurika Akurugoda
Senior Lecturer of the Faculty of Law University of Colombo