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Recognition of Turkish divorce decrees abroad

9th January 2018

Recognition of Turkish divorce decrees abroad

In our previous articles we provided information on divorce procedures in Turkey – the easier way (link to consensual divorce) and the harder way (link to contentious divorce

Once that the divorce is fought through and the decree absolute (kesinleşmiş karar) obtained from the Turkish court there is one last thing to worry about:  How can I have the divorce recognised and enforced in my home country?

This issue is often neglected by the foreign spouse, as there is usually no immediate pressure to act. Still, you should consider the following:

Why should I have my Turkish divorce recognised in my home country?

If you do not declare the divorce to the authorities in your home country you will still be considered as married, even though in Turkey you may have been legally divorced for years. Consequently

  • you cannot remarry in your home country or obtain a marriage licence if you want to get married elsewhere
  • You still have to use your married surname, even though your surname may have gone back to your maiden name (common practice in Turkey)
  • your ex-spouse is considered as your inheritor if you die

    How do I have a Turkish divorce recognised abroad?

It is extremely difficult to give guidance on the exact procedure as every country’s legislation is different. Please get detailed information from your country’s local registration offices or a lawyer in your home country.

General requirements are;

  • the original final divorce decree (or a certified copy) with an apostille stamp obtained from the competent court’s Adli Yargı Adalet Komisyonu (Justice Commission of the Judicial Court)
  • a translation by a sworn translator (attention: some foreign courts only accept translations signed by their own sworn translators)
  • the original red marriage book or a certified copy

If you never had your Turkish marriage registered in your home country, there is no need for the divorce to be recognised.


Recognition of a foreign divorce in Turkey

The procedure of having a foreign divorce decree recognised and executed in Turkey is time-consuming and expensive. For this reason many Turks do not bother to deal with it until a new marriage comes on the agenda.

If this is the case with your Turkish Romeo (or Juliet) you may be interested to learn how this problem can be resolved:


Up to 2017, there was only one solution: A lawsuit for recognition and enforcement (tanıma ve tenfiz davası) had to be filed with a Turkish family court (Aile Mahkemesi) or a court of first instance (Asliye Hukuk Mahkemesi) acting as family court. The court examines the foreign judgment and, if it meets the requirements stipulated by the Turkish legislation, serve an official notification to the former spouse in the foreign country notifying him/her of the recognition case opened in Turkey and asking for any objections. So far, I have never heard of any objections  – after all, the divorce abroad has usually been finalised for months, if not years. But even if there are no delays whatsoever, the procedure takes between 9 months and a year. And delays are rather likely, as the address of the former spouse must be correct and even misspelling of the addressee’s name can result in the failure of the notification.

Finally, on 29 April 2017, Statutory Decree 690 was published in the Official Gazette (Resmi Gazete). The provisions of its article 4 are supposed to facilitate the recognition procedure.

According to the said decree it is sufficient that the former spouses present themselves at any diplomatic mission of Turkey abroad or to some authorised registration office in Turkey. The concerned parties must apply either in person or represented by their lawyers, but at all events together.

Unfortunately, the regulation on how to handle such applications has not yet been issued, which means that for the time being (January 2018) the recognition of a foreign divorce decree must be done through a Turkish court.

The court requires the original final divorce decree provided with an apostille stamp (link to related article) and its notarized translation done by a translator sworn in Turkey. 

The cost for the procedure is rarely less than 1000 Euro as most applicants use a lawyer, all hearing protocols must be translated before they are served abroad, there are delivery charges and court expenses. 

Do you need legal assistance? - Please contact YellAli to arrange a meeting with a legal representive.

Written by Annette HANİSCH - YellAli Consultant

Content by YellAli - (All Copyright is protected and owned by YellAli - This content may NOT be copied & distributed by another third party, unless appropriate accreditation is given). 

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