In Sharia Law, an Islamic divorce is known as a “Talaq”. A Talaq is needed in order to get a divorce from the Muslim ceremony of marriage known as “Nikah”. In the United Kingdom, the Islamic marriage of “Nikah” is not accepted as a valid marriage and the marriage must still be registered with a Registry Office.
If the couple were to have an Islamic marriage in a country where an Islamic marriage is a legally valid, i.e. India, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, then they do not need to register the marriage in England with the Civil Registry as it will already be documented as a valid marriage.
What is a Talaq in Sharia Law Divorce?
A Talaq is where the husband in an Islamic marriage pursues to divorce his wife and this is a comparatively straightforward process. If a man in England performs a Talaq in England, this brings the marriage to an end only under Islamic law. The marriage still exists under English law and he must still petition for a divorce under English legal principles.
What is a Talaq Mehr?
Where a husband utters Talaq he must also make payment on the “Haq Mehr”, which is a sum of money he has approved to give to his wife if he was ever to divorce. The Haq Mehr may be considered for subsidiary relief (i.e. financial) proceedings. However, the payment of a Haq Mehr does not mean that ancillary relief proceedings in English courts cannot proceed.
A Muslim woman may also apply for an Islamic divorce by way of “Khula”. The requirements regarding its entitlement under English law are the same as for a Talaq.
Can the wife ask for a divorce in sharia law? Sharia Divorce Petitioner: Wife
If the petitioner for divorce is the wife, then unlike the husband, they cannot divorce their husbands in the same way as above. To get a divorce she would have to go to the sharia law council, fill in a divorce application form, bring proof of ID, with her nikah contract or certificate and pay to cover admin costs. She will then be asked to provide a reason for a divorce.
There are 16 grounds of Islamic divorce: adultery without a wife’s consent, desertion and intolerance of a husband’s consumption of alcohol and/or drugs are just a few examples. The petitioner must provide as much evidence as she can to support what she is saying.
The petitioner is then invited to meet with the council`s settlement unit to discuss the marriage breakdown. After this meeting the council sends the respondent three letters putting him on notice of the petitioner`s divorce application and request an immediate response. They will try and organise a joint reconciliation meeting but if this does not work the case will appear before the panel of arbitrators.
At the final hearing the petitioner presents her case. They are both asked to bring two witnesses to the hearing. If they are unable to do so then they must provide reasons for not doing so. If the couple have children, the arbitrator will ask about the current contact arrangement and will advise them to put something in place. The arbitrator will then decide if a divorce should be granted.
There are three types of Sharia divorce following a wife’s petition:
- Khula – Husband and wife have consummated the marriage and the husband agrees to a divorce;
- Tafreeq (dissolution) – they have consummated the marriage, but the husband refuses to give a divorce.
- Faskh (annulment) – when a marriage is essentially flawed (e.g. forced marriage) and the marriage has not been consummated.
Once the divorce is settled, both the petitioner and respondent are supplied with an Islamic divorce certificate. If there have been civil divorce proceedings, then an Islamic divorce can be approved quickly. It is best practice if more people will register their nikah contracts under English civil law. If it is registered, then the wives are afforded all their rights upon divorce according to English law.
It is vital that both parties to the marriage, whether Islamic or Civil, know their rights and obtain the correct divorce should their marriage unfortunately breakdown. JMR Solicitors can advise clients on all Sharia Law Divorce and Talaq matters.
Contact JMR Solicitors for your Sharia Law Divorce on 0161 491 3933.