Turkmenistan makes changes to the divorce legislation: What you need to know.

The Turkmenistan Family Code and the Civil Procedure Code have undergone revisions, published on March 30, 2024, notably removing the sections regarding divorce due to a spouse’s absence, thus disallowing divorces in absentia: all family-related cases must be attended to in person, except in cases where a participant is abroad, allowing no representation by proxy.

Divorce by mutual consent now allows the court to grant a three-month period for reconciliation, extendable to six months. Additionally, oral arguments are now required alongside written ones. Judges are obligated to engage in discussions with spouses, assess family dynamics, and consider children’s interests, with the option to involve the public organizations.

Specifically, revisions in the Family Code have affected article Articles 26 on Divorce by court. Registration of divorce, clauses 1, 4(3) and 5, whereas, additions have been made in the following articles 149, 171, and 180 of the Civil Procedure Code.

One has to appear in person

Previously, 2012 Family Code, with editions in 2014 – 2018, 2022 – 2023, the Article 26, clause 4(3) stated:

A marriage is dissolved in the following cases:

(3) the absence of one of the spouses (failure to appear, unknown place of residence, etc.).

In the current 2024 edition, this clause 4(3) has been removed. In the meantime, the Civil Procedure Code, Article 180, now has a clause 3, elaborating on an exception for the above clause from the Family Law:

3. In cases considered in family proceedings, personal participation of the parties is mandatory, except when one of the parties is located outside of Turkmenistan.

Responsibility of the court has changed

Family Code, Article 26, clause 5.1 did not exist previously and now states:

5.1 After the court makes a decision on divorce, but before the state registration of divorce in the civil registry office, in the event of reconciliation of the spouses, the court, having considered this issue on the basis of their application in the framework of the previous civil case of the parties on divorce, terminates the execution of the decision and issues a ruling on this.

In addition, Article 27 of the Family Code on Responsibilities of the court when considering a divorce case, has been changed from:

take measures to reconcile the spouses and preserve the family, if necessary, postponing the consideration of the case and assigning the spouses a period for reconciliation within six months.


take measures to reconcile the spouses and preserve the family, if necessary, set a period within three months for the reconciliation of the spouses, if the spouses do not reconcile within three months, but the possibility of preserving the family has not disappeared, then postpone the consideration of the case, assigning the spouses an additional period for reconciliation within six months.

More requirements to specify the reasons for divorce

Previously, in the 2015 Civil Procedure Code (with edits in 2017 – 2018, 2020 – 2023), Article 149 clause did not have section 2.1.

The new addition states:

2.1 The statement of claim for divorce, in addition to those specified in part two of this article, must clearly indicate the feelings and circumstances leading to the dissolution of the marriage, ensuring the possibility of spouses living together and preserving the family.

Similarly, in Article 171, clause 2.1 has been added:

In order to prepare the case for trial, taking into account the circumstances of the case, the judge performs the following actions:

2.1 conducts an interview with the parties in cases of divorce, preliminary clarifies the reasons for the dissolution of the marriage and, guided by the characteristics of each case (family living conditions, relationships between family members, ensuring the best interests of children, involvement of representatives of the public in the case and other circumstances), takes the necessary measures for reconciliation parties and carries out appropriate work to prevent the use of divorce in reality for other purposes.

Other amendments

Other changes in the Family Law include Article 26 clause 1 that stated in the past:

1) The case of divorce is considered by the court in accordance with the procedure established by the civil procedural legislation of Turkmenistan.

The clause has been changed to:

1) The case of divorce is considered by the court in the procedure of claim proceedings along with the norms of proceedings in family matters established by the civil procedural legislation of Turkmenistan.

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