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Divorce Laws and Procedures in Bangladesh

A Comprehensive Guide in Regards to Divorce Laws and Procedure for People of all Religion | Prepared by FM Associates, A Leading Law Firm in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Divorce Laws and Procedure for people of all religion

This guide is about the divorce laws and procedures in Bangladesh for people of all religion, this page will dig in the depth of the laws and provisions regarding the process as to how to give divorces in Bangladesh and the relevant laws that prevails.

Dissolution of marriage or divorce can be regarded as a legal process that terminates a marriage or civil union between a husband and wife, people who are in need of such requires an expert to proceed with their intention of giving divorce. Divorce entails the cancelation or reorganisation of the legal responsibilities of marriage by dissolving the bonds of marriage between a married couple under the rule of law of a particular state or country. 


Different religion has different views on divorce or dissolution of marriage and has different statutes related to divorce and marriage, as different procedure and laws of divorces in Bangladesh applies for Muslims, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist.

For example While some region, like Hinduism and Christianity, rejects the idea of divorce as they consider marriage as a sacred bond. On the other hand, Islam permits divorce between a married couple and has given the right to divorce from both husband and wife. Therefore a good family law expert in Bangladesh or a divorce lawyer in Bangladesh must find out the exceptions on the restriction of the general principles of divorce and make it possible, since no bonds are permanent. 

Divorce Laws and Procedures For Muslims in Bangladesh

Muslims Divorce Laws and Procedure in Bangladesh
Muslims Divorce Laws and Procedure in Bangladesh

Under islamic laws of divorces procedures for muslim's in Bangladesh can be very confusing if not a proper step by step guide has not been mentioned. Marriage under Islamic law is not an indissoluble and permanent bond and the parties may dissolve the marriage by the approved methodologies provided by the shariah. The policy of Islamic law is that a marriage may be terminated for a genuine reason.

Types/kinds of Divorces for Muslims in Bangladesh

Under the islamic laws of Bangladesh for muslims, which are duly applicable to muslims in case of divorce laws in Bangladesh, there are two types or kinds of divorces applicable for muslims, which are As follows:

  1. Extra - Judicial 
  2. Judicial

Extra-judicial Divorce

  1. Husbands Power: Talaq
  2. Wife's Power: Talaaq-i-tawhid
  3. Mutual Consent
  4. Other Processes

(i) Husbands power: Talaq

The husband's power of divorce is strictly given by the shariah putting him in a superior position in comparison to wife. The husband's power to pronounce talaq does not depend on any terms of the agreement, he can exercise this power unilaterally without showing any reason whatsoever. Once the husband pronounces talaq, the Iddah period will start and the time frame is 3 months or 3 menstrual cycles of women. On completion of the iddah period, the talaq will become successful if the wife does not get pregnant within those 3 months' time.

  • Talaq Ahsan

if one revocable talaq is pronounced during the period of unconsummated purity and the husband does not revoke it during the iddah period then the talaq becomes effective after the expiry of iddah. After the talaq becomes effective and this is known as Talaq Ahsan. 

  • Talaq-i-hasan

Talaq-i-hasan is constituted of three single revocable pronouncements made at three different periods of unconsummated purity, whether the first two pronouncements have been revoked or not. Such a talaq becomes effective at the moment the third pronouncement is made. The third pronouncement cannot be revoked and this form of talaq is known as talaq-i-Hasan.

  • Talaq al Bida

Talaq al Bida is such type of talaq when husband pronounces talaq thrice at the same meeting or a single irrevocable talaq and the talaq becomes effective and irrevocable. Both such pronouncements become final and irrevocable at the moment the pronouncement is made. 

(ii) Wife’s Power: (talaaq-i-tawfid)

A wife does not have any power of her own to dissolve a marriage. She can dissolve a marriage by herself only if the husband had delegated the power to her before the head. This is known as talaq-i-tawfid or delegated talaq. Thus, the existence of such power to be in the hands of the wife completely depends on the contract between husband and wife. If there were any stipulations regarding delegation of such power by husband and wife inserted in the marriage contract, only then the wife would be able to dissolve the marriage by exercising that power without resorting to either the husband or the court. In Bangladesh Column 18 of the kabinnama is about delegation of power of talaq by a husband to his wife and column 19 is about whether husbands' power of talaq has been curtailed in any way. 

(iii)Through mutual consent (khula, Mubarat)

When both husband and wife seek separation through their mutual consent it referred to as Mubarat. Khula or redemption means a form of divorce that takes place at the request of the wife.  

(iv) Other processes

  • Ila: If the husband takes an oath in the name of the Almighty Allah that he will abstain from physical relationship with his wife for four months, then after the expiry of such 4 months, the court will dissolve the marriage, and this form of talaq is known as Ila.
  • Zihar: Zihar means comparison. if the husband compares his wife with anyone (sister/mother) who is within the prohibited degree with him, then that will amount to zihar. Zihar does not dissolve the marriage, rather a husband cannot cohabit with his wife before expiration or redemption. In the case of failure to make an atonement, the wife has the right to seek judicial divorce.
  • Lian: if the husband brings an accusation of adultery against his wife after taking oath in the name of the almighty and the wife denies such accusation also taking such oath in the name of almighty Allah then it will be the responsibility of the court to set aside the marriage because of the conflicting oaths. Lian does not automatically dissolve the marriage, rather the court has to declare the separation. 
Relevant Muslim Divorce Legislations in Bangladesh
Relevant Muslim Divorce Legislations in Bangladesh

Divorce Laws, Acts and Provisions For Muslims in Bangladesh

Step by Step Divorce Procedure For Muslim Husbands in Bangladesh

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961, has mentioned the procedure for Talaq by the husband, therefore, following is the step by step divorce procedure for muslim Husbands in Bangladesh. Under section 7 Ordinance, 1961 a husband may divorce his wife in the following manner:

Step 1 | Pronouncement of Talaq

The First Step is pronouncing talaq. A husband who wishes to divorce may verbally pronounce Talaq to his wife.

Step 2 | Sending Divorce Notice to Chairman or Union Parishad

Soon after the pronouncement, a written notice to the chairman of union Parishad or any other authorized officer shall be given. Also, a copy of this notice shall be given to the wife.

Step 3 | Arbitration Council Within 30 days of Notice

After that, the chairman shall constitute an arbitration council within 30 days of the notice attempting to reconcile between the parties and take all other necessary steps for reconciliation. 

Step 4 | Confirmation of Divorce

If reconciliation fails then the divorce will become effective after the 'iddat' period, which is 3 months. These 3 months shall be completed for talaq to become effective. In case the Wife is pregnant at the time of Talaq, the divorce will only commence after the pregnancy.

Divorce Procedure For Muslim Wife in Bangladesh

According to section 8 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961, if the wife gets right to divorce by delegation, she may exercise such right in the same manner as the husband (provided in section 7) so far applicable.

Moreover, Under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 a wife shall be entitled to obtain a decree for dissolution of her marriage under Section 2 of the Act. The grounds for a decree for dissolution of marriage under this section are as follows: 

i. If the husband has been missing or not found for four years

ii. If for 2 years the husband has failed to provide his wife maintenance.

iii. If the husband has been sentenced to or imprisoned for 7 years or more

iv. If the husband has failed to perform a marital obligation for 3 years or more

v. If the husband was impotent or continue to be so.

vi. If the husband has failed to fulfill marital responsibility for 3 years or more

vii. If the for period of 2 years the husband has been insane and suffering from any other critical diseases 

viii. If the wife was been married off before the age of 18 years and she repudiates the marriage before attaining 19 years of age.

ix. If the wife is being treated with cruelty by her husband which includes:

  • Habitual assault or physical torture
  • leading an immoral life
  • forces the wife to lead an immoral life
  • disposes of wife from her property
  • obstructing her in performing religious activities
  • does not treat his wife equally like the other wives (If the husband has several wives) 

Or any other ground as provided in Muslim Law.

Moreover, The Muslim Marriages and Divorces (Registration) Act, 1974 mentions about registrations of Muslim marriage and divorce. As per section 6 of the Act, A registrar may register a divorce under Muslim Law on the application being made to him for registration. 

In addition to this, when a wife has delegated the power to divorce her husband (Talaq-i-Tawfid), proof of such delegation shall be produced to the Registrar to register this type of divorce.

Divorce Laws and Procedure for Hindus in Bangladesh

Hindu Divorce laws and procedure in Bangladesh
Hindu Divorce Laws and Procedures in Bangladesh

In Hindu personal law there is no mention of divorce or dissolution of marriage as Hindu marriage is considered a divine bond and a sacrament. In Hinduism marriage is, therefore, a sacred bond that cannot be broken by divorce by husband and wife. Thus, Hinduism puts high importance on marriage and does not approve of dissolution or divorce.

Relevant Laws and Provisions related to Hindu Divorces in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, there exists no separate law on Hindu Marriage and Divorce. However, there is an Act named The Hindu Married Women's Right to Separate Residence and Maintenance Act, 1946. Under this Act, A Hindu married woman can ask for separation and maintenance from her husband upon satisfying the grounds that are mentioned in section 2 of the Act.

As per this section, a Hindu married woman shall be entitled to a separate residence and maintenance from her husband on either of the following grounds:

1. If the husband is suffering from a disease which is not contracted from his wife

2. If the husband behaves cruelly with his wife

3. If the husband abandoned his wife without her consent or desire

4. If he Re-Marries

5. If the husband converts to another religion other from Hinduism

6. If he keeps a mistress or lives with her

7. For other justiciable reason

However, a Hindu wife shall not be entitled to a separate residence or maintenance if she converts to any other religion or fails to comply with the order of the competent court for the restitution of conjugal rights.

Dissolution of Marriage

Instead of Divorce, a Hindu couple can file a petition at the Family Court to obtain Dissolution of Marriage under section 6 The Family Courts Ordinance- 1985.

The steps for obtaining a dissolution of marriage is described below:  

Step 1 | File a Case

A husband or wife can institute a suit under the ordinance by presenting a plaint at the family court for dissolving the marriage. The plaint shall disclose material facts related to the dispute between the husband and wife.

Step 2 | Contesting the Written Statement

At a fixed date the parties shall be present at the Family Court. The defendant shall present his written statement along with supporting documents.

Step 3 | Examination of the Petitions

Within 30 days of submission of a written statement, the court shall fix a date for pre-trial proceeding. In the pre-trial hearing examine the petition along with other documents and attempt for reconciliation if possible.

Step 4 | Framing of the Issues

After that, if the court fails to reconcile between the parties then issues shall be framed and a date shall be fixed within 30 days.

Step 5 | witness Examination

On the fixed date the court shall examine the witness and record the evidence.

Step 6 | Discussion of Negotiations between the Parties

After the recording of evidence of the parties and the witnesses, the court shall once again make an effort to reconcile between the parties to the suit.

Step 7 | Decree for Dissolution of Marriage

After that, if the court is satisfied that the parties shall be granted dissolution the court shall do so by enforcing a decree for dissolution of the marriage between the parties.

An aggrieved party may appeal against the decree passed by the Family Court.

Registration of Divorce

Hindu Marriage Registration Act, 2012 and Hindu Marriage Registration Rules, 2013 was introduced to validate the registration of marriage between Hindu couples. Registration of marriages under Hindu law was not possible in Bangladesh until the adoption of the Hindu Marriage Registration Act, Under this Act, the rules were laid down in the Hindu Marriage Registration Rules, 2013.

There was no mention of registration of marriage in the Hindu system of marriage. Without registration, a marriage could not be proved, and as a result dissolution of marriage was not possible. Section 3 of the act suggests that such registration is discretionary, and the marriage will be considered as valid even if it has been not registered. Section 6 of the Act talks about the procedure of marriage registration. The registration shall be completed as soon as the marriage has been solemnized and either party may apply for the Registration. Previously, there was no marriage registration for Hindu couples, making it impossible to confirm the relationship from a legal perspective. 

Divorce Laws and Procedure for Christians in Bangladesh

Christians Divorce Procedure and Laws in Bangaldesh
Christians Divorce Procedure and Laws in Bangaldesh

In Christianity marriage is considered to be eternal and lifelong union and therefore there is no mention of divorce or dissolution of marriage. Christian personal law also does not permit divorce. However, Christian divorce is possible on limited grounds. In Bangladesh, the Divorce Act of 1869 has mentioned provisions for the dissolution of Christian marriage by order of the court.  

Relevant Statutes

The procedure and steps for filing a Christian divorce are discussed below:

Step 1

Under the provisions of the Divorce Act 1869, Section 3, any Christian husband may file a petition to the District Judge's Court or the High Court Division to dissolve the marriage on the reasons of adultery.

In the same way, as per section 10, a wife can make such a petition to any court for dissolution of marriage on the grounds as follows: 

  • If the husband has converted to any other religion from Christianity and has married any other woman.
  • Adultery committed by Husband.
  • If the husband has been guilty of marriage with another woman.
  • Rape or bestiality
  • If the husband has been deserted for 2 years along with adultery.
  • If the husband been guilty of cruelty along with adultery 

Step 2:

As mentioned in section 12 of the Act, After filing the petition, If the court is satisfied based on the facts of the alleged ground and is confident that the allegation is not collusive or that there is no condonation of the alleged ground of filing a divorce, an order for dissolution of the marriage shall be given.

However, If the court is not satisfied based on the facts of the alleged ground and is confident that the allegation is collusive, the District Court shall dismiss the petition, and, in that case, a similar petition could be filed at the High Court Division.

Step 3:

Divorce are genuine then the District Court shall pronounce a decree for dissolution of marriage. However, the decree is subject to review by the High Court Division as mentioned in section 17 of the Act, and will not be confirmed until the expiration of six months from the pronouncement of the decree. 

Nullity of Marriage

On the filing of a petition by husband or wife, order for the nullity of marriage may be issued by The District Judges court or the High Court as mentioned in section 19 of the Act. As per this section, either of the two courts may issue an order for nullity of marriage on any of the following grounds:

1. When the respondent is impotent.

2. Prohibited relationship by the parties.

3. When one of the parties was lunatic during the time of marriage

4. Former husband or wife of either party was alive during the married and the marriage between them was in force at that time.

However, to nullify the marriage, the court shall be satisfied that the consent of either party was not obtained by force or fraud.

Judicial Separation

Judicial Separation is another process for obtaining a divorce. Section 22 and 23 of the Divorce Act, 1869 deals with a petition for judicial separation to the High Court Division or the District Court on the grounds of Adultery, Cruelty, and desertion for two years or more without any reasonable ground. Judicial separation may be reversed by the court on the basis that it was inflicted in the absence of the parties and that there was a reasonable excuse for the alleged desertion as mentioned in section 26 of the Act. 

Restitution of Conjugal Rights:

An order fo this can also be given under section 32 of the Act if either the husband or the wife has withdrawn from the society of the other without a valid excuse may apply by petition to the District Court or the High Court Division, for restitution of conjugal rights.

Divorce Laws and Procedure for Buddhist in Bangladesh

Buddist Divorce Laws and Procedure in Bangladesh
Buddist Divorce Laws and Procedure in Bangladesh

The Buddhist view of marriage considers marriage to be a secular affair and does not consider it to be a sacrament. In Buddhism, there are no restrictions on divorce, unlike Hinduism. Buddhists believe that, if a marriage causes suffering, it is better to get a divorce or dissolution. Buddhists are required to obey the personal laws laid down by their respective governments. In Bangladesh, there is no existence of Buddhist personal law and therefore no particular divorce law is followed by the Buddhists living in the country.

However, The Family law Ordinance, 1985 applies to everyone irrespective of their religion. This ordinance mentions about dissolving the marriage by instituting a suit at the family court. 

Moreover, there exists a law on marriage and divorce known as the Special Marriage Act, 1872. This Act is applicable for persons who profess the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina religion.

Relevant Statutes:

  • The Family Courts Ordinance, 1985
  • Special Marriage Act, 1872

Dissolution of Marriage:

Instead of Divorce, a Buddhist couple can file a petition at the Family Court to obtain the Dissolution of Marriage under section 6 The Family Courts Ordinance- 1985.  The steps for obtaining a dissolution of marriage is described below:

Step 1

A husband or wife can institute a suit under the ordinance by presenting a plaint at the family court for dissolving the marriage. The plaint shall disclose material facts related to the dispute between the husband and wife.

Step 2

At a fixed date the parties shall be present at the Family Court. The defendant shall present his written statement along with supporting documents.

Step 3

Within 30 days of submission of a written statement, the court shall fix a date for pre-trial proceeding. In the pre-trial hearing examine the petition along with other documents and attempt for reconciliation if possible.

Step 4

After that, if the court fails to reconcile between the parties then issues shall be framed and a date shall be fixed within 30 days.

Step 5

On the fixed date the court shall examine the witness and record the evidence.

Step 6

After the recording of evidence of the parties and the witnesses, the court shall once again make an effort to reconcile between the parties to the suit.

Step 7

After that, if the court is satisfied that the parties shall be granted dissolution the court shall do so by enforcing a decree for dissolution of the marriage between the parties.

An aggrieved party may appeal against the decree passed by the Family Court.

Divorce Laws and Procedure for an Atheist in Bangladesh

Atheists Divorce Laws and Procedure in Bangladesh
Atheists Divorce Laws and Procedure in Bangladesh

Atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of a God or Goddess. "Atheist" is a person who does not believe in the presence of a god or gods and an atheist does not profess any religion.

In Bangladesh, there is no separate law for marriage and divorce for the Atheist. However, In Bangladesh, there exists a law on marriage known as the Special Marriage Act, 1872. This Act is applicable for Marriages which are celebrated between persons neither of whom professes any religion such as, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jaina, etc.

Relevant Statutes:

  • Special Marriage Act, 1872
  • Divorce Act, 1869
  • The Family Courts Ordinance- 1985

As mentioned in section 2, of the Special Marriage Act, a person who does not profess any religion may get married under this under by fulfilling the following conditions:

  • A party must not be previously married and have a husband or wife living at that time.
  • The age of man shall be 18 years and women shall be 14 years of age.
  • If any party being under 21 years, shall get the consent of their guardian for marriage.
  • The parties must not be within the degree of consanguinity 

Moreover, Section 17 of this Act mentions the application of Divorce Act 1869, for those who contract marriage under this Act. It states that A marriage may be declared null or dissolved in the manner provided under the Divorce Act. Therefore, an Atheist residing in Bangladesh can file a divorce petition as per the provisions of The Special Marriage Act, 1872, and The Divorce Act, 1869.

The procedure and steps for filing divorce by an Atheist are discussed below:  

Step 1

Under the provisions of the Divorce Act 1869, Section 3, any husband may file a petition to the District Judge's Court or the High Court Division to dissolve his marriage on the ground that his wife has been guilty of adultery. 

In the same way, as per section 10, a wife can make such a petition to any court for dissolution of marriage on the grounds as follows: 

  • If the husband has converted to any other religion and has married any other woman.
  • If the husband has been guilty of adultery
  • If the husband has been guilty of the marriage of with another woman
  • If the husband has been guilty of rape or bestiality
  • If the husband has been deserted for 2 years along with adultery
  • If the husband been guilty of cruelty along with adultery 

Step 2

As mentioned in section 12 of the Act, After filing the petition, If the court is satisfied based on the facts of the alleged ground and is confident that the allegation is not collusive or that there is no condonation of the alleged ground of filing the divorce, an order for dissolution of the marriage shall be given.

However, If the court is not satisfied based on the facts of the alleged ground and is confident that the allegation is collusive, the District Court shall dismiss the petition, and, in that case, a similar petition could be filed at the High Court Division.


Step 3:

Once the court is satisfied that the grounds for divorce are genuine then the District Court shall pronounce a decree for dissolution of marriage. However, the decree is subject to review by the High Court Division as mentioned in section 17 of the Act, and will not be confirmed until the expiration of six months from the pronouncement of the decree. The Board of Three Judges of the High Court Division may, by majority judgment, accept such a decision after hearing and taking further evidence if necessary.

Nullity of Marriage

On the filing of the petition by husband or wife, order for the nullity of marriage may be issued by The District Judges court or the High Court as mentioned in section 19 of the Act. As per this section, either of the two courts may issue an order for nullity of marriage on any of the following grounds:

  • When the respondent is impotent.
  • When the parties are within the prohibited degree of relationship
  • When one of the parties was lunatic during the time of marriage
  • If the former husband or wife of either party was alive during the married and the marriage between them was in force at that time.

However, to nullify the marriage, the court shall be satisfied that the consent of either party was not obtained by force or fraud.

Judicial Separation

Judicial Separation is another process for obtaining a divorce. Under section 22 of the Divorce Act, a Husband and wife can also seek judicial separation from either of the courts. Section 22 and 23 of the Divorce Act, 1869 deals with the petition for judicial separation to the High Court Division or the District Court on the grounds of Adultery, Cruelty, and desertion for two years or more without any reasonable ground.

Such an order for judicial separation may be reversed by the court on the basis that it was inflicted in the absence of the parties and that there was a reasonable excuse for the alleged desertion as mentioned in section 26 of the Act. 

Restitution of Conjugal Rights in Bangladesh

An order for the restoration of conjugal rights can also be given under section 32 of the Act if either the husband or the wife has withdrawn from the society of the other without a valid excuse may apply by petition to the District Court or the High Court Division, for restitution of conjugal rights.

The Difference between Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, and Atheist divorce is that only Muslim Law recognizes divorce between a married couple. Hindu and Christian law considers marriage as a sacred relationship and does not allow divorce or dissolution of marriage. However, In Buddhism, there are no restrictions on divorce, unlike Hinduism. Buddhists believe that, if a marriage causes suffering, it is better to get a divorce or dissolution.

As per the legal ground of Divorce in Bangladesh, there are many statues related to Marriage and Divorce for the Muslims. A per the Muslim law, both Husband and wife can file for divorce on various grounds. Christian Divorce Act also provides divorce procedures where the grounds for divorce vary for husband and wife. On the other hand, A Hindu woman can seek for separation and maintenance from her husband upon fulfilling some grounds that are mentioned in The Hindu Married Women's Right to Separate Residence and Maintenance Act, 1946. A Hindu couple can also seek judicial separation by filing a petition at the family court. As for the Atheist, the Special Marriage Act and the Divorce Act shall prevail for them in matters related to Marriage and Divorce. The Family Court Ordinance, 1988 does not only apply to the Muslim communities only but to all citizens irrespective of religion. Therefore, all the marriage and divorce-related issues shall be dealt with under this ordinance. However, there needs to be a lot of amendments to the existing laws on divorce. Separate laws on marriage and divorce are needed for Hindu and Buddhist people residing in Bangladesh.