Lawyer ecstatic amendment to marriage & divorce law gazetted

Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING, Dec 28: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) National Women vice chief Voon Shiak Ni is on cloud nine.

The reason? The new amendment to Section 95 of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 2017 has just been gazetted. The amendment makes it compulsory for divorced fathers to maintain their children till their tertiary education or training.

Voon, who is a practising lawyer for divorce and family matters for many years, said the amendment would benefit the affected children, and she reckoned there must a lot of them in the country.

Citing 2012 statistics, she said the divorce rate in Malaysia is very high, where a divorce case is filed every 10 minutes! Hence, the need to afford adequate provisions to protect the needs and livelihood of children of divorced parents.

Voon is, thus, thankful that divorced fathers having to pay for the maintenance of their children till they completed tertiary education or training now has the force of law.

“Being a practising lawyer for divorce and family matters for many years, I have taken note of the challenges faced by divorced couples, where their children’s interests and welfare were compromised when maintenance issues stay unresolved or unfulfilled.

“In all divorce proceedings, the children’s welfare is of paramount importance and will come first in deciding on the terms and conditions in a divorce matter.

“The challenges faced by divorced wives or single mothers are the continuous default by the ex-husbands to pay for the maintenance of the children after divorce, and the matters get more complicated when they re-marries,” she said in a statement today.

Voon added that it was also a common dispute as to when the payment for maintenance by the husband should end. Some divorced husbands chose to end their maintenance for children when they reach the age of 18 or 21.

But lawyers normally advise that maintenance is provided till the children finish their further studies or are working, whichever is earlier.

“Making sure that the interests of the children are taken care of is my priority in handling family matters.

“I would say it is a tedious task and needs a lot of patience to do a good job for the divorced families to ensure that the day after divorce, they can put in place something to minimise any negative impacts, especially on the affected children. 

“With this amendment, it will provide the strict guideline for fathers to provide for their children after divorce till they finish their further education, which also means after 21 years of age,” she said.

This amendment, she opined, shall serve as legal protection for children with divorced parents. — DayakDaily