Akkas & Associates is a globally recognized Turkish family law firm with a long record of excellence and professional leadership in Istanbul, Turkey. Our Turkish family lawyers and divorce attorneys are prepared to handle divorce cases, from a simple no-contest divorce proceeding to a complicated divorce with significant property and children. Our divorce lawyers also represent our clients in other family law issues including; Turkish child custody law, contested divorce, uncontested divorce, alimony & compensation, child custody, child support, recognition of foreign divorce decree, and other family law litigation.

We understand your needs when it comes to family law issues. We’re dedicated to helping you make the right decisions, even during difficult and emotional circumstances. Our Turkish family lawyers and divorce attorneys give you sound legal advice based upon the law, our experience and the unique facts of your situation. Our firm’s family lawyers are devoted exclusively to family law issues including contested divorce, uncontested divorce, alimony & compensation, child custody & support, recognition of foreign divorce decrees, and litigation.

Child Custody Laws in Turkey

Child custody can be the single most difficult issue in the divorce process. Assets are split in the petition as a one time agreement, but the impact of custody arrangements continues after the divorce is finalized in accordance to the details of the petition. It is a common tactic in divorce proceedings to point out the other party as an unfit parent. The purpose of this approach is to win custody of the children, limit visitation rights of the other party, protect the children from harm, or to make one’s claim that they are the better party for which the court should assign custody. You must prepare yourself that you could be portrayed this way in the divorce proceedings. It is often said that all the “dirty laundry” comes out during divorce. Understand that this is a fight in which you must represent your best interests as well as the best interests of your children.

turkish-child-custody-law

According to Turkish Family Law; there is only one type of conservatorship is available which is Sole Managing Conservatorship. It refers to the custodial parent who has actual possession of the child at all times, except during the time the other parent has visitation rights. There is no Joint Managing Conservatorship yet.

The family regulations in Turkey include the rules regarding children, especially when their parents made a decision to get divorced. The rules related to custody are to be found in the Turkish Civil Code Law No. 4721 that stipulates that the mother and the father have the custody rights since the birth of a child until he/she is 18 years old.

If they are divorced, the custody is given to one of the parents, if the child was born during the marriage, and to the mother if she gave birth outside a conjugal union. The both parents are the legal representatives of the child until he is 18 years old; after this age, she/he will represent himself and his/her parents aren’t allowed anymore to act on his/her behalf.

Turkish Child Custody Law

Turkish Family Law & Divorce Regulations

Turkey legally recognizes marriages executed in Turkey. A marriage is registered at a local Vital Statistics Office (Nufus Dairesi). In Turkey, all family records are recorded in the Vital Statistics office that was the original home to the family. Even if no one currently lives in that area, births, marriages, divorces, and other events are recorded in this one location.

In the event the marriage was executed in another country, the marriage may be registered through the nearest Turkish consulate. The Turkish Consulate will forward the documents to the office that handles that family record book.

To terminate a legal marriage it is required to obtain a divorce decree from a Turkish family court. Divorce proceedings are generally open to the public. However, at the request of either party, a judge may choose to preside over a closed or private court case. Judges may also take temporary measures for the protection of the parties, their property, and the welfare of their children.

Separation Regulations in Turkey

When a divorce case is filed, a judge may decide on separation, if he or she determines there is a possibility of the parties reconciling. A period of 1-3 years can be given for separation before the final decision to grant a divorce is reached.

Following a divorce, the woman generally resumes the last name she had before the marriage. She may, however, continue to use her husband’s last name if the judge approves this decision. The divorced woman may not legally remarry within 300 days following the date of the dissolution except in cases where court permission is obtained.

In divorce cases in Turkey, the court also rules on child custody issues. The court may compel non-custodial parents to contribute to each child’s health and education expenses in proportion to the parent’s economic status.

Uncontested (Agreed) Divorce in Turkey

If the marriage has lasted for at least one year and a joint application for divorce is made, or a court case filed by one spouse is accepted by the other spouse, the marriage is considered to be impaired. In such cases, the Judge listens to both sides and approves the agreement reached by the parties regarding the protection of the children and financial affairs. The Judge has the authority to make any changes on the arrangements. If both parties consent to these changes, the divorce decision is given.

An agreed divorce minimizes family disruption and the emotional turmoil that goes with it. It is unfortunate, but those who battle over the kids usually end up doing the most harm to them. Kids are smart. They know you are fighting. They can “read” your feelings. They know how you feel about your spouse. Further, remember this, all kids will at some point place blame for the divorce on themselves. It is your job as a parent to make sure that this does not happen.

If three years have elapsed from the date a divorce case is rejected and living together has not been established, the marriage is considered to be impaired and a divorce decision is given upon application to the court by either spouse.

If you live outside of Turkey, and are looking for a family law attorney to assist you with divorce, child custody or child visitation, and child support issues, give us a call. We work regularly with clients who live in abroad but have children or divorce matters in Turkey. We understand the frustration that a long distance legal battle can cause and will do all we can to limit your travel expenses and win your case.

Foreign Divorce Decree Recognition

A divorce decree obtained from a non-Turkish court does not automatically annul a marriage that was registered or has taken place in Turkey. Any Turkish citizen involved in such a legal separation should file a suit in Turkey to have the foreign divorce decree recognized by a Turkish family court. Divorce decrees issued in jurisdictions outside of Turkey are not considered valid for purposes of divorce in Turkey.

However, under certain circumstances it may be advisable for the divorcees to also register the divorce with the Turkish Family Courts in order to legally terminate the marriage in Turkey.  This is not necessary for all cases and would generally only take place if a marriage which was originally registered with the Turkish consulate or  local Vital Statistics Office (Nufus Dairesi) where one member may continue to reside in Turkey, and for the purposes of that person’s legal standing within Turkey.

A power of attorney, available in Turkey from any notary public, must be granted to an attorney who will start the divorce proceedings.

The followings are needed:
1. A Power of Attorney to a lawyer in Turkey
2. Original copy of the divorce decree

Similarly, if you have a divorce decree obtained from a Turkish court and want to have it recognized in your own country, you will need to have a court case filed in your country to have the Turkish court decree recognized.

foreign-divorce-decree-recognition-in-turkey

Recognition

Divorce decrees passed by foreign courts for Turkish citizens living abroad are subject to filing a recognition lawsuit to make them valid and enforceable in Turkey. Recognition refers to approval of a sentence passed by a foreign court to make it valid in Turkey. Legal outcomes of such sentence will be determined subject to the laws governing the foreign court. If such sentence is found unrecognizable, it will not bear any legal effect. However, such unrecognized sentences can be used as evidence to prove a dispute.

Execution

Execution refers to approval of a sentence passed by a foreign court to make it enforceable in Turkey. Execution can also be issued not to enforce such sentence, but to use such sentence as a final evidence or final order.

General Information About Recognition and Execution

  • Recognition and execution for sentences passed by foreign courts are subject to filing a proper lawsuit to apply for the same, cannot be issued through a pre-hearing review.
  • Such lawsuits are subject to the usual civil procedures law.
  • Hearings or sessions for such lawsuits can be held during a legal holiday.
  • If the petitioner is not a resident of Turkey, he/she must deposit a legal guarantee with the court. The amount of the said legal guarantee will be decided by the judge at his discretion. If Turkey and the other country signed a reciprocality agreement providing exemption for such legal guarantee, the court will not require such legal guarantee.
  • Jurisprudence for such lawsuits is the court having jurisprudence over the respondent’s residence (i.e. the borough where the respondent was birth registered). If the respondent is not such resident of Turkey, jurisprudence is the court having jurisdiction over the borough where the respondent is living in Turkey. If the respondent does not live in Turkey, jurisprudence is the courts of Ankara, Istanbul, or Izmir.
  • Venue for such lawsuits is the court of family affairs.

Turkish Alimony & Compensation Law Regulations

Section 174 of the Turkish Civil Law orders as follows: “If the faultless or less faulty partner’s existing or expected interests are damaged by dissolution of marriage, that partner will be entitled to claim an appropriate material compensation from the other partner. If the personality of one of the partners has been assaulted due to the events which led to dissolution of marriage, that partner will be entitled to claim an appropriate moral compensation from the other spouse.” A stare decisis by the 2nd Department of Turkish Supreme Court orders that “Adultery is considered an assault of personality, therefore the court must order the faulty partner to pay moral compensation to the faultless partner as part of its order for dissolution of marriage”.

However, another stare decisis by the 2nd Department of Turkish Supreme Court orders that if the wife applies to the court to ask for serving a legal notice on her deserting husband, the said application will be considered that the wife has pardoned her husband for the events that happened before the date of the said legal notice. Therefore the husband will no longer be considered faulty and the court will not order the husband to pay a material or moral compensation to the wife. If the husband insulted his wife, he will be considered faulty and such fault will be considered a legal ground for divorce.

In summary, if any of the events that lead to dissolution of marriage assaulted the personality of the petitioner, the petitioner will be entitled to claim a moral compensation from the faulty respondent. However, if one of the partners insults the other partner but the other partner reacts to such insult or has caused the first partner to commit such insult, it will be a different situation, as ordered by Turkish Supreme Court as follows: “Evidence collected in the case file indicate that the respondent insulted her husband and that the husband, in response, beat up his wife and throw her out of their house. Therefore, the wife is not faultless or less faulty, but equally faulty with regard to the events which lead to dissolution of marriage, so that the court will not order the husband to pay a moral compensation to the wife.”

In conclusion, a partner will be entitled to receive a material compensation only if he/she is faultless or less faulty, the other partner is faulty, a damage has been suffered, and the law has been violated.

Moral Compensation

One needs to be faultless to be entitled to moral compensation. Moral compensation is a means used for restoring the upset moral balance of one of the partners. If the other partner is faulty, the first partner will be entitled to receive such moral compensation. However, the proof of burden for violation of one’s moral rights remains with the partner who alleges such violation. If the petitioner fails to prove the event which violated his/her personal rights, the petitioner will not be entitled to a moral compensation.

Alimony is defined in Section 175 of the Turkish Civil Law as follows: “If one of the partners will suffer poverty due to dissolution of marriage and his/her fault is not more severe than the other partner, that partner will be entitled to claim alimony from the other party, provided that such alimony must be in proportion with the financial strength of the other party.” In other words, a partner will not be entitled to alimony unless he/she is faultless or less faulty than the other partner.

Depending on the particular circumstances of a dissolution of marriage, the court can order a material compensation and alimony to be paid in the form of revenue. In this case, such material compensation or alimony will be canceled if and when the receiving partner remarries or one of the partners dies. If the receiving party has a live-in third party partner, or he/she is no longer poor, or lives in a dishonored way, the court will revoke such compensation or alimony. The court can also order to increase or decrease such revenue if and when the parties’ financial strength changes or equity requires to do so (Turkish Civil Law, Section 176).

Section 178 of the Turkish Civil Law orders that the right to claim an alimony will be time-barred in one year after the date of the final dissolution of marriage.

If you live outside of Turkey, and are looking for a family law attorney to assist you with divorce, child custody or child visitation, and child support issues, give us a call. We work regularly with clients who live in abroad but have children or divorce matters in Turkey. We understand the frustration that a long distance legal battle can cause and will do all we can to limit your travel expenses and win your case.

Divorce on the Grounds in Turkey

Chapter 2 of the Turkish Civil Code provides the following possible grounds for filing court cases for a divorce or separation in Turkey:

  1. Adultery, Maltreatment, threat to life, severe insult
  2. Committing a crime which degrades the integrity or the prestige of the other party
  3. Deserting home: If one of the parties leaves home and does not return for at least 6 months without showing a valid reason and also does not respond to the Judge’s warnings, the deserted spouse may open a court case for a divorce. The party who has forced his/her spouse to leave home or who prevents the return of the spouse without any valid reason is also considered to have deserted his/her home.
  4. Mental illness: If one of the parties has a mental problem which is confirmed by an official medical committee report that it cannot be treated, a court case for a divorce can easily be opened.
  5. Incompatibility: Though this is the widest area of grounds for opening divorce cases, the Defendant has the right to reject a court case if the Plaintiff is found to be more at fault. If the judge, however, decides that the right of rejection is being exploited and that there is no benefit for the Defendant and the children in maintaining the marriage, a decision for divorce can be made.

If the marriage has lasted for at least one year and a joint application for divorce is made, or a court case filed by one spouse is accepted by the other spouse, the marriage is considered to be impaired. In such cases, the Judge listens to both sides and approves the agreement reached by the parties regarding the protection of the children and financial affairs. The Judge has the authority to make any changes on the arrangements. If both parties consent to these changes, the divorce decision is given.

If three years have elapsed from the date a divorce case is rejected and living together has not been established, the marriage is considered to be impaired and a divorce decision is given upon application to the court by either spouse.

If you live outside of Turkey, and are looking for a Turkish family law to assist you with divorce, child custody or child visitation, and child support issues, give us a call. We work regularly with clients who live in abroad but have children or divorce matters in Turkey. We understand the frustration that a long distance legal battle can cause and will do all we can to limit your travel expenses and win your case.

Our Turkish family lawyers are prepared to handle your divorce in TurkeyTurkish divorce groundsare adultery, maltreatmentthreat to lifesevere insult, committing a crime, deserting home, mental illness, and incompatibility.

Legal grounds for dissolution of marriage are divided into two groups: special and general. Sections 161 to 166 of the Turkish Civil Law define those legal grounds as follows: the special legal grounds are adultery, deliberate attempt to kill, maltreatment, humiliating behavior, committing a crime, unreasonable behavior, desertion, mental disease; the general legal grounds are incompatibility, coming to a mutual agreement on divorce, no-contest divorce, and living apart for three years after an application for dissolution of marriage has been denied by the court.

Marriage will not be dissolved upon filing of the decision made by only one of the spouses. Marriage will not be dissolved unless the spouse against whom such application has been filed is proven to have been faulty. Apart from such fault, marriage can only be dissolved upon an application by the couple for divorce under mutual agreement, agreed divorce. The court will not dissolve the marriage unless both spouses are present in person at the hearing. If the application is based on adultery, presentation of written affidavits will not be considered sufficient, the judge will hear the couple’s individual verbal statements before the court.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

Section 165 of the Turkish Civil Law defines irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a general legal ground for divorce. If the marriage has broken down in an irretrievable way so that the spouses cannot be expected to continue their marriage, any of them will be entitled to file a lawsuit for divorce. In case of such lawsuit, if the petitioner’s fault is more severe, the respondent will be entitled to object the lawsuit.

If the right in question is misused, the judge might dissolve the marriage if it is not worth to be saved for the respondent and the children. If the marriage has lasted at least one year and both partners apply in agreement for a divorce or one of them agrees the other partner’s application for a divorce, it will be considered that the marriage irretrievably broke down. In this case the judge will hear the partners in person before adjudging to dissolve the marriage. The judge can amend the divorce agreement to protect certain interests of the partners and their children.

If the judge denies such application for a divorce due to any reason but the partners live apart due to any reason for three years after the denial order in question became final, it will be considered that the marriage irretrievably broke down, and the judge will dissolve it upon an application by one of the partners.

Adultery

turkish-divorce-grounds

Section 16 of the Turkish Civil Law orders that if one of the spouses commits adultery, the other spouse will be entitled to file a lawsuit for dissolution of their marriage. Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between one of the spouses and a third party. If a married woman has had sexual intercourse with a man not her husband, or a married man has had sexual intercourse with a woman not his wife, the court will consider that adultery has been committed. Sexual intercourse between two people of the same gender will not be considered adultery.

The husband or the wife must file a lawsuit for dissolution of their marriage within six months after discovering the reason of such filing, or within five years after such adultery has been committed, otherwise their right to file such lawsuit will expire. If such adultery has been committed once for all, the date on which it has been committed will count as the commencement of the above mentioned legal period of application. If such adultery has been committed several times, the date on which the adultery has been forgone will count as the commencement of the legal period of application. If the other spouse pardons such adultery, his/her right to file such lawsuit will expire. Such pardoning can be declared in verbal or written form.

Deliberate Attempt to Kill or Maltreatment

Section 162 of the Turkish Civil Law orders that if any of the spouses deliberately attempts to kill the other, maltreats the other, or severely humiliates the other, the other spouse will be entitled to file a lawsuit for dissolution of their marriage. The first of these legal grounds is defined as a malicious attempt by one of the spouses to kill the other. If one of the spouses acts in a way to mean to kill the other, this legal ground will be considered to have happened. The second of these legal grounds is maltreatment of one of the spouses by the other. It includes beating the other spouse in a ruthless way, keeping on locking him/her in a room, tying his/her feet or hands, or leaving him/her hungry.

The difference between the attempt to kill and maltreatment is that the latter is not meant to kill the other spouse or to encourage him/her to commit suicide. The third of these legal grounds is severe humiliation of one of the spouses by the other. It is defined as acting in a way dishonoring the other spouse, including throwing the other out of the family house or insulting the other. Such actions can be declared in verbal or written form to the court. All of these legal grounds are subject to the time-bar and forgiveness rules stipulated in Section 161.

Committing a Crime or Unreasonable Behavior

Section 163 of the Turkish Civil Law defines the legal grounds of committing a crime or unreasonable behavior. It orders that “If one of the spouses commits a humiliating crime or unreasonable behavior and the other spouse can no longer be expected to continue to live together with the faulty spouse, the other spouse will be entitled to file a lawsuit for dissolution of their marriage. The said section defines the term “humiliating crime” as minor disgraceful crime. Section 76(2) of the Constitution as amended in 1982 defines the term “disgraceful crime” as misappropriation, embezzlement, corruption, bribery, theft, burglary, swindle, forgery, breach of confidence, and fraudulent bankruptcy.

Applications for dissolution of marriage on the grounds of any of the disgraceful crimes defined above will not be subject to the time-bar rules stipulated in the Civil Law. The term “unreasonable behavior” is defined as a way of life disrespecting the morality, dignity, honor or self-respect principle of the society. Such crime or unreasonable behavior might have been committed before the parties got married. However, such action will not be considered a legal ground for dissolution of marriage unless it has been committed while the parties are married. If such action has been committed and has made the marriage intolerable for the other spouse, it will be considered a legal ground for divorce.

Desertion

Section 164 of the Turkish Civil Law orders that if one of the spouses has deserted the other in order to refrain from his/her matrimonial obligations or due to an unjustified reason and has not come back for minimum six months, the separation is still going on, and the legal notice sent by the court to the deserter spouse upon an application by the other spouse remains unanswered, the other spouse will be entitled to file a lawsuit for divorce. The term ‘desertion” is defined as termination of the spouses’ union. A spouse’s leaving of the other spouse to serve conscription-based military service, to serve time of imprisonment, sickness, business trip or for other similar reasons will not be considered desertion.

The other spouse will be entitled to apply to the court for serving of a legal notice on the deserter spouse after six months elapsed as from the date of desertion. The said legal notice will invite the deserter spouse to come back and notify the sanctions to be enforced if he/she refuses to come back. This legal notice will ask the deserter spouse to come back within two months. If the deserter spouse does not come back within said legal period, the other spouse will be entitled to serve a second legal notice on the deserter spouse, provided that such second legal notice can only be served after six months (including the period of two months granted to the deserter spouse to come back) have elapsed from the date of the first legal notice. If the deserter spouse is abroad, this legal notice must be sent to his/her address abroad.

Mental Disease

Section 165 of the Turkish Civil Law orders that if one of the spouses suffers a mental disease, the marriage becomes intolerable to the other spouse due to such disease, and the medical committee of a public hospital issues a report to confirm that the said mental disease is incurable, the other spouse will be entitled to file a lawsuit for divorce. This does not mean that every mental disease will be considered a special legal ground for divorce, but only such incurable ones as schizophrenia or paranoia fall in this category. The burden of proof for such intolerability remains with the suing party i.e. petitioner.

Reach us for Turkish Child Custody Law

Akkas & Associates is a solution-oriented law firm that empowers clients to meet the diverse and changing demands of today’s family law & divorce. Since 1992, our lawyers have been helping clients’ complex legal challenges and maximize opportunities for success. Our law firm is now one of the leading family law & divorce law firms in Istanbul, Turkey. You may reach us for Turkish Family Lawyers through our Contact page.