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divorce grounds

Grounds for Divorce under Turkish Law

Divorce Grounds

The laws regulating divorce cases are the prominent part of family law in every country. The grounds for divorce are stipulated in the Turkish Civil Code in two categories. First, general reasons, and second specific reasons. Under the Turkish divorce law divorce grounds for uncontested divorce cases are as follows:

Adultery (Cheating)

Adultery means that one of the spouses is engaging in a relationship with another. The relationship is sexual intercourse. However, the plaintiff does not have to prove sexual relationship. Such relationship can be proved by any extrinsic evidence such as hotel records. As a divorce ground adultery is not a common reason for divorce according to statistics. Severe incompatibility is in the most common divorce ground. The important thing in the case of divorce due to adultery is to comply with the 6-month deprivation period. If the spouse does not file a divorce case within 6 months the right to file a adultery based divorce case will be lost.

Attempt to Kill

If one of the spouses attempts to kill the other one it would be a ground for divorce. This divorce ground is reason for divorce in the Civil Code. Failure to file a divorce case within 6 months after the attempted murder will bar the spouse from filing divorce case based on this ground.

Domestic Violence

Abuse of one of the spouses to the other is determined as one of the grounds for divorce. Ill-treatment can take the form of physical or emotional or economic violence. The important thing here is that the bad behavior makes it impossible for the other spouse to continue the marriage. However, if the abuse is so intense, there will be grounds for divorce. If the abused spouse does not file a divorce case within 6 months at the latest after learning of the abuse, or if he forgives the spouse, the right to file a divorce will be forfeited.


Severe insult and humiliation by one of the spouses to the other is another legal ground for divorce. In this context, it is a reason for divorce if a spouse offends the other spouse in front of third parties. However, the offending behavior must seriously damage the honor and dignity of the other spouse, a simple disrespect is inadequate. If the spouse who has been severely insulted does not file a divorce case within 6 months it would mean that he/she forgives his/her spouse, and therefore, he/she loses the right to file a divorce case on this ground.

Committing Felony

It is also a ground for divorce if one of the spouses commits a crime and the crime that is committed makes it impossible for the other spouse to continue the marriage. Of course, not every crime committed will be a reason for divorce in this context. The crime must make the marriage intolerable for the other spouse. Examples of such crimes are theft, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Having Low-life

If one of the spouses leads a dishonorable life, it could also be grounds for divorce. However, this state of dishonor must be permanent and turn into a way of life. In order for a dishonorable life to be grounds for divorce, it must be so important that it makes it impossible to continue the marriage. Addictiveness to drugs, alcohol or gambling are examples of a dishonest life.


Another issue that constitutes a reasons for a divorce case is desertion. Desertion is the situation in which one of the spouses leaves home in order not to fulfill his/her obligations arising from the marriage union. In addition, the failure of one of the spouses to leave the joint residence and not return without a justifiable reason is also considered “desertion”. In some cases, forcing a spouse to leave the home is also within the scope of the desertion provision.

Mental Disorder or Illness

If one of the spouses is mentally ill, it could be a divorce ground under certain conditions. The mental illness must make it impossible for the other spouse to continue the marriage. In addition, it is necessary to determine with an official health board report that the treatment of mental illness is not possible. When these two conditions are met, it will be possible to obtain divorce decree. If it is not possible to obtain such a report in this sense, it is better off focusing on other grounds for divorce.

Severe Marital Disputes

This general divorce ground is called as “disruption of the marital union” in the Turkish Civil Code. According to the divorce case statistics, this is the most common ground for contested divorce cases in Turkey. Long-term disagreements between spouses, constant arguments, respectfulness, and marital distress are the most common concrete examples of this type of divorce ground. Loss of sharing, love and respect, failure to fulfill responsibilities are other examples of this divorce ground. In addition to these, sexual problems such vaginismus, or sexual incompatibility can also be deemed within the scope of martial disputes. If the spouses are experiencing a serious incompatibility that cannot be resolved between the spouses, and marriage counseling does not solve the problems, any of the spouses can file a divorce case based on this ground.

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