Divorce in Turkey – know your rights

[ 110 ] July 16, 2008

Divorce in Turkey know your rights

Divorce Diva looks into the laws of divorce in Turkey, if you’re not Turkish and married to a Turkish man we will do out best to explain how to sue for divorce and how custody and alimony are handled in Turkey’s legal system.

You should firstly find out if Turkish Law will apply for your divorce, if you obtained Turkish citizenship during the time of your marriage you will be subject to Turkish law. Turkish law will also apply to your divorce if you, as a couple, used to reside in Turkey. We suggest you look into the Turkish International Private and Procedures Law (No. 2675). As Article 13.

In both cases, the respective legal body containing regulations governing “divorce and separation” is the Turkish Civil Code (No. 4721).
Either you or your husband can file for divorce on the grounds that the other has committed adultery (Article 161), abuse (Article 162) or a humiliating crime (Article 163). Also, if one of the parties left home or developed a severe mental illness, the other spouse may open a court case for a divorce (Articles 164 and 165). However, the widest area of grounds for opening divorce cases is the reason of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” (Article 166), which covers all the other issues that tend to lead to divorce.

Divorce is normally filed by the party who is less guilty in the breakdown of the marriage, if the spouse at greater fault does not want the divorce the case may be thrown out of court. If the couple have not reconciled and resumed living together within three years of the first application it will be picked up again by the court.

In the event that you do file for divorce you will always need to hire an lawyer who will start the divorce proceedings for you. Your embassy will provide you with a list of Turkish lawyers/attorneys who speak your language.

The next stage is not great, any declarations made in court to lay out the grounds of divorce have to be proven with accordance with Turkish Law, which means you, your spouse and witnesses have to report about the status of your marriage. Reports, letters, sound and visual recordings may be used as evidence for this.

In some cases if you don’t want to appear in court, your case can be heard with your being there, as long as both sides agree on issues such as the custody of the children and financial matters.
It is the judge’s decision if you divorce or separate, if the judge feels there is a chance of your reconciling they can give you a period of one to three years of separation before the final decision to grant a divorce is reached.

Although, if the marriage has lasted for at least one year and you both agree to a divorce, there should be no further problems. The judge will listen to both sides and approve the agreement reached by the parties regarding the custody of the children and financial affairs. However, he can by law change make changes to these arrangements. If both parties consent to these changes, the divorce is granted.

Custody and alimony
The courts also rule on child custody and alimony issues in divorce cases in Turkey. Luckily over the last few years the Turkish Civil Code has undergone some decisive changes that have helped to improve the legal position of women enormously. Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) have prepared some very useful publications on this topic.

The custody of the children will be granted to whichever parent the judge believes will look after the child better, although, the spouse who has not been awarded custody will still have to share the financial burden of bringing up the children, depending on their financial means. The courts will also rule on his or hers visitation rights, depending but if the grounds for the divorce are violent conduct or a dishonorable lifestyle on the part of one of the spouses, these rights will be restricted.

If you are not at greater fault in the divorce, and you find yourself in a difficult financial position, the other side will have to give a single lump sum or periodically to meet the cost of living for an indefinite period of time (article 176). The payments will also depend on what the other party can afford at the time of going to court. If the recipient remarries the payments will stop automatically.

A divorced woman in Turkey is not allowed to legally remarry within 300 days of the date of divorce, except in permission is obtained in court. If you obtained Turkish citizenship during the course of the marriage, you will go on being a Turkish citizen. However, if you only have a resident permit, you may have to give it back or, at least, change it to another “reason for visit.”

Are you going through a divorce with a Turkish man? Or any other foreigner? Share your stories with Divorce Diva and help thousands of other women who could be going through the same traumas you are facing.

Source: totdayszaman.com

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  • jackie

    ive been married to a turkish man for 6 years and now he so be with themays he needs to marry a kurdish lady because he needs a child as i cant give him 1… ive now come back to the uk broken hearted, i still love him but our marriage is over, but i still want to live in turkey and he says if i go back he will still take care of me, i really want to go back but how do i trust him, as my 2 dogs are there and i want to be with them. also can he marry again without me signing for a divorce. jackie

  • Lorraineq

    I married a turk in Altinkum 6 years ago and flew home to england the same night of the marriage. He followed 6 months later on a spousal visa. He lived off me for 4.5 years until after me paying for a few visas he got his british passport and deserted 6 weeks later. Leaving me to pay for all the bills and loan that I had taken out to set his business up. He was sending all his money to his mum in turkey. We had no row, he just diappeared and sent an email to say he was in holland. He now wants a divorce and to bleed me dry. I do not come under turkish law as we did not reside as husband and wife in turkey and i was not a turkish citizen. So now i have no clue as to how i stand legally with the divorce and if in fact i am legally married as my husband took the book with him.We also never went to Izmir to register after as i flew directly back to uk…..Loz

  • Amy

    Hi im now divorced from my turkish husband can sum 1 please tell me how to get a divorce certificate.he has got it but wont give it to me any way of getting another 1

    • emma

      You will be ale to get a copy from the court that divorced you. They will take a small fee. You should have been sent all the documents concerning the divorce. They usually send the documents to both parties

  • Linda

    I married Turkish man in 2006, he came to Canada 18 months later on permanent resident visa. He has been frugal with me financially and I've paid our living expenses for the past 3 years. He will pay a bill once in awhile and that is it. He insists on never sharing anything financial with me. Last week I found much evidence of his infidelity via photos and contact with some of the foreign women he cheated with online and visited during our marriage. As well, I believe he lied about not having a nika marriage. Before we married I questioned him on this and he insisted no. I have found photos that prove he has family in Turkiye; nika wife and 1 or 2 children. (continued, next message)

  • Linda

    As well, he has been mentally abusive with me for the past 2 years and I have been pushed to the point of yelling at him, I believe he has been taping me. He has/had a business in Turkiye. He told me that a few months ago he signed it over to another family member without any consultation with me. What are my rights and how do I pursue divorce proceedings that reflect the deceit and what I entail as exploitive intentions to begin and end with. The day I found all the pictures I asked him to leave our home, he now plans to return to Turkiye. Thanks for your direction.

  • Monika Yost

    My question is somewhat related. I am involved with a Turkish man but he is still married. He has tried for 10 years to get a divorce but his wife is declining and refusing the divorce. He and I were advised by an Imam, that we could get a religious wedding and live together and that Turkish law no longer bans this, and that we would not be punished with a jail sentence. Is this true?

  • kerry

    I love my turkish boyfriend very much and we have a 16 month baby together. ive met all his family and he sends me money for her and looks after us really well when we are over there. Now ive come back 2 the uk we r trying 4 a holiday visa but not having much luck, and takes forever all the information they need so we have decided to get married as its a quicker way 2 b 2gether as we r sick of waiting and theres no gaurentee he will be granted and we both want him here for xmas. The only thing is im a mum and what do we do best WORRY! Im worried that once we are married he will take her to live in turkey and that would kill me! I do trust him , but im just thinking if we ever fell out what he might do. Can any1 give me any advise on past experience thankyou x

  • fiona watson-caglar

    i need help, i have been married to my turkish husband for 2 and half years, he's been living here with me for 2. we are both same age. he just got his indefinate last week and today he walked out on me with a text message.
    i have just sold a house i owned before i met him, do i have to give him half the profit, he cheated on me twice during our marriage
    i need to divorce him

  • kerry

    I have the same story really, now desperatly need helpa. I married in turkey,it was a violent horrible marraige,the usually by the sounds of it, I fled back to uk 2.5 years ago.after getting strong started my divorce.now I’m stuck and please I need advice.I need my marriage book for the divorce,bt he has it and won’t give it.how can I get a copy?my turkish firend went to the nufas daire for me but they said I have to go in person they won’t give it anyone else.I can’t go in person,I can never enter that country again.I should of took it,but I just ran with our daughter and never looked back. Please please someone help me

  • lisa

    i was married to a turkish man for 3 years. we are now seperated. i would give everything i had to divorce him but the ugly pig has taken my red mariage book. they seem to be very clever at knowing what to take and that. i hate him more than i could ever explain. i am now with a man who treats me lovely so ive kinda moved on in that sense but i could never marry until im divorced from this vile piece of scum. anybody got any suggestions as to how i can obtain a copy of this red book. somebody told me you can get a certified copy from the consulate in london. is this true ? thanks for any suggestions !!

    • emma

      I am separated from a Turkish man, but luckily, I have my red marriage license. You need to go to the Turkish Embassy and explain the situation. I too have moved on in the sense that I have met a fantastic guy, Thankfully, my soon to be ex has agreed to a divorce. You can also get a power of attorney with a solicitor and they will more or less do the rest for you. The embassy will be able to help you but just be insistent that they help you otherwise they do have a habit of string it a long a bit. Good luck though and I hope it all works out for you.

    • guest

      yes lisa you can get a copy of your red marriage book, get in touch with the office that married you they’ll get you a copy, i was able to get a copy of my marriage book in turkey were i was married

  • kelbel

    LORNA!! I was the same as you, but with my daughter,she’s was 4months old,and she was born in turkey. You have every right to take your son, and once your in UK you are safe.its very very difficult for them to legally take the child,as they have to do it through uk law,which after hearing your marriage they’d opt for mother anyway, but firstly hed have to pay lost of money,apply to uk court,legally,he don’t really have a leg to stand on. Now in turkey the laws changed and children under 12 go to mum,over go to dad.unless he proves he’s more finiancial secure than you and able to give your son a better life. A fear in turkey tho is if he has some family take your son,and I’ll be blunt,it would be near on impossible to track him. My advice to you, run. Pack all ur important doc, as birth, marriage cert etc,few personal items. Sort a flight when he’s at work, that’s what I done, then run. Biggest relief in your life when that plane reaches UK. I did it, and so gratefull that I did it then, before it was to late. Goodluck

  • margaret

    i married a turk in 2001 he was lovely forthe first 3 years the last 3 years have been hell, he claims to have a curse on him, talks to him self, hits him self, been violent to me, takes pictures of his own man hood and puts on face book, down loads, 1-1 ladies bits it is so humilitating i want a divorce can this be done in the uk or do i have to go back to turkey, i was married in istanbul and have the international red book please can some advise me thank you

    • emma

      You can do this from England. I am in a very similar situation at the moment. You can either give a power of attorney to a solicitor who will take care of everything for you or you can to the Consulate in London and ask them to produce a document stating that you want a divorce and then you can use a solicitor over in Turkey. All documents from the Consulate have to be with a photograph though.

      If he agrees to a divorce it should be a fairly quick procedure but if he doesn't then be prepared for it to be a long haul. Hope I have helped a little. Good luck

  • emma

    If a red marriage certificate from Turkey has wrong information on it – i.e. both people having the same date of birth written on there when it isn't actually the case, is the marriage still legal?

  • emma

    Of course he can apply to divorce her in Turkey on irreconcilable differences for example. This may not be a quick procedure though so be prepared for a wait.

  • bob

    i am forigner got married with turkish citizen in my country' after 2 years my spouse parents forced me to do divorce. but i dont want to get divorce beacuse my wife is mentally sick and bipolar diorder and she hearing voices and she speaking alone with walls. i love her so much but her mother insist my wife that get divorce. i wanna give time to my wife that its no a kids play. so plz help me

  • Lalie

    I am a south african citizen. If I want to marry a Turkish citizen in Turkey, do I have to wait 300 days after my divorce – the SA law permits marriage after divorce immediately.

  • stephanie

    I married a turkish man in 2009 we have been together for 6 years he did not give me full turkish wedding as he said we will do signature get visa then cum bk turkey an have rest of wedding this last year he has gone so horrible he call me such bad names he does wat he wants go where he wants he hates my mother who sticks up for me which he dnt like he is always threating me if u dont come here alone i wil divorce you i have found pictures of him an girls he is now telling me he can divorce me from turkey without my concent is this true? i have tried asking home office consolates an no 1 will reply to me can any1 help me thanks stephanie

    • guest

      yes i think he can divorce you without you present, you can also start ur own divorce in ur own country its safer 4 u do dat then go back near turkey if his making treats to u ,

  • Hailz

    Hi im in scotland and my husband is in turkey and wondering about divorce he tells me i have to go out there and do the divorce but i feel threatened to go back is there no way i can do it over here .. without us seeing eachother ???

    • jan

      you dont have to go back to turkey to get divorced , you can do it from ur own country and that stands legal for all country bar turkey thats up to him to sort it out in his own country, unless you want to marry another turk

  • margaret

    I am an english woman currently separated from my turkish husband and awaiting divorce proceeedings. Is he still eligible to apply for british citizenship, and after how long???

  • Alex

    I have written on this site several times over the last two years and come back to read the sad and confused accounts of women who are often in dreadful marriages/partnerships.

    I have been in contact with a London/Turkish newspaper and the edtor is willing to interview women who are finding themselves in unacceptable situations. We need non judgemental support and advice.

    Please go to Facebook and find


    IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE IN A DIRE SITUATION PLEASE PASS ON THE ABOVE. All information gathered is confidential and will not be passed on without your consent.


    • guest

       Dear Alex,

      I tried to find the group on FB, but it doesn’t appear as an existing one anymore. I would need that moral support very much.

      • Alex

        Dear Kiss of Fire
        Sorry you could not fine the Facebook page but you can write to me on my e-mail


        You can tell me your situation. I don’t know if you are presently in Turkey. I am in the UK. I have done a lot of work here with the Turkish and Kurdish Women’s community regarding the difficulties foreign women are having with Turkish/Kurdish partners/husbands. Both communities have been most helpful and understanding.

        Please write to my e-mail then everything is private and confidential, which it will remain.

        I can assure you, I take the problems you may be experiencing very seriously, as the above is a dire problem that is not supported but can have harmful consequences.

        I await you e-mail. Keep strong.

        Yours Alex

  • Jennm

    i was married to a Kurdish man , for a very brief marriage, we was married under six months, altogether but only lived together for less then three of the six months as he waited 4 three months for his visa, his marriage visa is cancelled & i’m currently starting the process for having my marriage annulled based on fraud in my own country, my question is can i seek annuity is turkey or do i get a judicial separation , can anyone give some info id be grateful  

  • guest

    I am married to Turkish man for 1lmost 16 years. I am now a Turkish citizen  and we have 2 children. I am living in Turkey for 5 years  now. My husband left Turkey to work in another country and for 3 years now, he is not coming to Turkey and he is not giving financial support.  For 3 years of working in abroad, he may sent only 4,000$ approximately, and that money was not sent on regular basis. And he used my Turkish identification card to take some loans. Now all the loans are on my name and they are all after me. Now I am working and if not because of these loans, I can support my children without asking anything from him. But he was always telling me that he will send money but nothing is being sent. I want to divorce him and take custody of my children. Besides he did not serve in the military, so he can not come in Turkey because he already passed the age of serving. Is is easy for the court to divorce me from him? Please help me. I want to get rid of him from my life.

  • Gipsy1swing

    Hello there to everybody! I am married to Iranian man, and begun divorce now. We married in Turkey in late 2010. Does anyone have similar experience? I am Serbian and will start procedure in Serbia… do I need to forward entire procedure to Turkey, or can I finish it in Serbia? I do not care whether it is in Turkey our divorce not recognized.. as I dont think I’ll go there again. I just wish to know does anyone on this forum has similar situation/experience and what are the rules?

    • Kiss of fire

       Draga, ja prolazim upravo kroz slicno iskustvo. Kako da stupimo u kontakt? Razumi me, ne bih ovde da dajem mnogo detalja o sebi.

  • EJ

    Hi everybody!
    Im married to a turkish man for 3 years but I just visited him every year since I’m working here in canada.And his paper is on process .But now his asking for divorce without any reason. I don’t know what to do.I have the red book with me.I’m planning to go there next month to settle everything or to sign the divorce paper if that’s what he wants,is that a legal  or better option for me? Please help me…

  • Darttagore

    I have come back to the Diva site finding that here are very few posts.  It is nearly five years since I filed a petition for divorce and now the case is with an Appeal Court in Istanbul. My Kurdish husband married me to take ALL my assets.

    I came back to London penniless and homeless. Setting up again in my own city was tough. Somehow I have made it through with the only support coming from the Kurdish community especially the women. After explaining to them what had happened to me and many others they are offering to give support if I can find other foreign women who need help.  Its the first time such a connection has been made to a Kurdish/Turkish organisation. I, in turn have given English lessons and advice regarding their children’s education.

    Please contact me, as I found little help with my own especially in Turkey. British ex-pats very often make situations worst!

    Just reply to me on Diva and i will give you contact details.
    If you know of anyone in difficult circumstances over in Turkey please get them to post.

    I have been there and understand the frustration and misery caused but we have to help each other with correct and sincere advice.


    • kerry

      can u look my name up on facebook and mail me asap kerry mawdsley ,,,,,just i want to talk with some one that has been in sae situation and still findin it heart breakin to handle the hurt hes caused me and my 2 kids ,,,,plus 3rd on way x

      • shellyjfk

        Kerry we are now starting a campaign to stopukmarriagefraud in the uk!! We have many other people in your situation please email stopukmarriagefraud@hotmail.co.uk

  • guest

    I need help, i married a turkish man almost five years ago. Everything was going ok at the start but then he became abusive, i got pregnant after 2 years of marriage and even then the physical abuse didnt stop, i am currently pregnant again and ive tried everything to get him to change but nothing has. I need to know how to divorce him and how long it will take… I have proof of all the injuries ive sustained during our marriage and i have witnesses, can anyone tell me how i can go about it and how long it will take…

  • Mary Temel

    Alex .I have the same situation you had.Please contact me .I am on Facebook Mary Temel

    • Alex

      Dear Mary

      I am sorry for delay. I will try your FB contact.
      You can write to me directly on
      Any information you pass on to me is strictly confidential and remains so.
      Please let me know where you are in Turkey or elsewhere.
      I await your e-mail and will offer any help or support I can.
      I am back in the UK but have good contacts in the Turkish and Kurdish communities here who also offer their support.

      Yours Alex. Please keep strong 

  • Silly Irish Girl

    I married a Turkish man in 2009 and when he came to my country I realised very quickly that it was only for a visa, we have been separated almost 3 years and last year we got back together as he said he wanted his family back and wanted to work things out, i believed him but again quickly learned that it was all because he wanted to apply for residency in Ireland and get irish passport, I have since split with him and he has now sent me a letter to divorce quickly from Turkey as this is were we married, but i do not want to divorce until he tries to apply for a new passport..next year… can he divorce me without me agreeing, any advice would be great….

  • stacey

    not sure if my last message posted so will keep this brief, i gave a turkish lawyer power of atorney 5months ago my husband has still not filed for the divorce will the power of attorney still be valid as on the day i was made to believe because it was a friday my husband will file on the monday and it would take upto 6weeks for the divorce to complete….im here in the uk so am unable to do anything ive emailed the power of attorney but had no reply and i now realise my husband can give any reason he wants for grounds of divorce im sure he wont say that he is a serial cheat and abusive, we have a 3yr old son that he didnt mention but he is a non exsistant father anyway……i hope someone can answer my quiery, thanx

  • Janice

    I wish I had found this website before I had married my seperated idiot of a husband, I have two beautiful children which is the only positive, he lost me aroun 100k of my money on a doomed business in Turkey then when we came back to the UK he was forced to work hard as we still had a mortgage on my house, he went back on holiday in July 2012 and hasnt been seen since, in the grand scheme of things I am doing better tha some of you poor ladies on here! What a horrible, moody, miserable race, how do they maage to keep up the appearance of beig nice for a few years only to turn in to control freak pigs!

  • http://www.facebook.com/victoria.cole.927758 Victoria Cole

    This is a testimony that i will tell to every one to hear. i have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until i meant a post where this man Esango Priest have helped someone and i decided to give him a try to help me bring my love Husband home and believe me i just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email: esangopriest@hotmail.com he is a good man and straight forward human

  • broken123456

    i been marryed 6 years now to a turkish man he has never come over here he never gave me the marrige book he has cheated on me and gave me infection and he has just lefted me here and never tryed in the marrge i have started a divorce and he has been served her paper but will not sigh it he say he wants power of attorny in this countery i know this means money proplerty asset but i dont have any i did nt a trust fund because i was raped and he knew about it i dont have anymore as i lost all when the share fall i have also lent him money and his brother i lent him 2 grand and his brother 3 grand and i have nt got it back i want to know if it is normal to do power of attrony to get a divorce as when i ve looked on the internet it said that normaly i would get y soiltor to do power of attorney and my soiltor would appoint someone to get me a lawer in turkey i am worryed he is trying to get money cos in the letter he sent my soiltor he has ask for 300 pound for the attorny and he won t sent my divorce paaper untill i say i will do power attorney he black mailing me he has also treaned to kill me and that noone esle can have me and i have had treatening phone calls say you are mine forevr we marryed forever please help

  • broken123456

    dose anyone know if i can go the goverment to london to get this divorce as my soiltor said i would have to wait another year and a half if they tracked the service paper and she said if i wold have to find out turkish law as my legie aide don t cover her finding out about turkish law please help somone as i amm 38 and i would like to have more childen

  • broken123456

    and it has already been 2 year