? A Brief Q&A On The Recognition And Enforcement Of Foreign Divorce Decisions In Turkey | Guzeloglu Attorneys at Law
Date : 23/07/2020

A Brief Q&A On The Recognition And Enforcement Of Foreign Divorce Decisions In Turkey

Resolution of international family law disputes, especially of those multi jurisdictional, holds paramount importance, when concerned parties seek relief in numerous jurisdictions.

1)    What is recognition and enforcement of a foreign decision?

In principle, court orders are only legally binding within the jurisdiction in which they are rendered. So, they have to be first recognized and enforced through a legal proceeding before the courts of the country in which the decision is sought to be enforced. For example, if you have obtained a divorce decision in the USA, it is only binding in the USA. That said, if you would like that decision to be enforceable in Turkey, you have to initiate necessary legal proceedings before Turkish courts to obtain the rulings in that decision to have legal effect in Turkey.  Turkish courts has discretion to enforce the foreign judgement entirely or partially.

Enforcement of foreign court decisions is regulated under the Act on Private International Law and Civil Procedural Law No 5718 (“PILA”). In addition, Turkey has ratified international conventions and bilateral agreements regarding the matter.

2)    What are the prerequisites to get a divorce decision enforced in Turkey?

Following criteria must be met in order to get a divorce decision enforced in Turkey.

a)    Turkish court decisions must be eligible for enforcement in the state/jurisdiction where the foreign court decision was rendered, known as the reciprocity principle.

b)    Subject of the decision must not fall within exclusive jurisdiction of Turkish courts.

c)    The decision must be in compliance with public policy.

d)    Right to be heard must have been respected during the legal process leading to the foreign judgment at hand.

e)    The decision must be final and be rendered by a judicial authority.

3)    What is the difference between recognition and enforcement?

Enforceable judgements are enforced whereas the declaratory decisions are recognized. For example, in a divorce decision there may be multiple rulings relating to different subjects such as the custody of children, parties’ assets or maintenance. These are rulings accordingly which the part(ies) are obliged to take action. Therefore, these rulings need to be enforced. Whereas the decision on the divorce is declaratory whereby the court declares that the parties are no longer married. Therefore, ruling on the divorce is not required to be enforced; but is only to be recognized, which is a simpler proceeding.  When enforceable judgments are only recognized but not enforced, they could be used as a conclusive evidence or decision for another legal proceeding.

4)    Do I have to be present at the hearing to get my divorce decision recognized and enforced in Turkey?

No, you may choose to be represented by an attorney at law.

5)    How long does it take to get my divorce decision recognized and enforced in Turkey?

The answer to this question majorly depends on whether your ex-spouse is willing to cooperate in the process. In other words, should your ex-husband/wife objects to the recognition and enforcement of the foreign divorce order, the process may take up to 2 years excluding the appeal process.

However, if both parties are in agreement, the enforcement proceeding be finalized within couple of weeks should all the requirements are completed. As per the recognition, the process may be completed within a day should all requirements are fulfilled with the new legislation (“Decree No. 690”) that is put in place which does not require the parties to go to court but only to the local administrative bodies.

For more information on recognition and enforcement of divorce orders in Turkey you may contact our international family law department by sending an e-mail to info@guzeloglu.legal

Author: Abdülkadir Güzeloğlu & Fatma Esra Güzeloğlu
Relevant Fields: International Family Law