Non-Muslims must register marriages to avert misery for spouse, kids, say lawyers

Source: The Malaysian Insider

It is important for non-Muslim couples to register their marriage since the Law Reform Act (Marriage and Divorce) 1976 no longer recognises customary rites. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 29, 2015.

Registering a marriage is of paramount importance to protect the legal interest of non-Muslim couple and their children in cases of death or separation, family lawyers said, following a Court of Appeal ruling that prevented a woman from dependency claims after the death of her partner.

Without marriage registration, the woman’s status was equivalent to a “keep” as she would have no rights over the wealth of the man or estate, while their children would be classified as illegitimate as most of existing law gave no protection.

Lawyers said the Court of Appeal ruling on Monday was right in declaring that customary marriage after July 1, 1982 afforded no legal protection since registration was compulsory.

Customary marriage was, at one time, legal until the Law Reform Act (Marriage and Divorce) 1976 came into operation in 1982, lawyer Ravi Nekoo said.

“A lot of complications could arise if the couple live together and have children,” he said.

He said this in response to the court ruling that bank executive Dee Bee Yoke was not entitled to dependency claims following the death of her partner, businessman Low Chin Wee, in a road accident in December 2011. Read more