Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thinking about Divorce?

I have copied and pasted this blog posting from and then added additional comments under each question. Unfortunately it was lifted without referencing, which means the original location is unavailable ~bit frustrating that, I'd like to read the original post~

I'm posting the information as it follows on from, and expands, the wgaw blog posting on what to include in the obligitory pre nup agreement {see wgaw blog archive: pre-nups} in which I promised to add more information as I found it.

The posting below is aimed at American expatriate women who marry Saudi nationals and live in Saudi. However the information is relevant and useful to all women thinking of marrying or who are married to GCC nationals, live within the GCC and who aren't American.

I've also added a glossary of essential terms to make the understanding a little easier:


1. sharia/ shareea/ shareeah/ shareea' [shaa-ree-ah]:
"Muslim or Islamic law, both civil and criminal justice as well as regulating individual conduct both personal and moral. The custom-based body of law based on the Koran and the religion of Islam."
This explanation is taken from:

2. muharam/ muhram/ muhraam/ mehram/ mahrim/ maharem
pronounced [mah-rram]
 and not [moo-ha-rram]

A woman's husband or anyone with whom sexual intercourse would be deemed incestous; a male who is allowed to escort a woman.

This will include the woman's immediate male family members, e.g. her brother, son, grandson, father, grandfather, great-grandfather.  But does not include male (women can not be mahrams) cousins, father in law, uncles and non-relatives. In addition it includes the 'rada' [rraa-daa] relatives; any males she has wet-nursed.

The relevant verse in the Qur'an can be found at: Light, 24:31


1. Can I leave my husband?
You, as an American, can leave any time, but the kids are another story. In the event of a husband's death, and you have a son who is 21 (or 18 not sure) he may leave with you.
~wgaw: it is 18 {see wgaw blog archive: }. Any child aged between 7 and 18 stays with the current muhram~

2. What if we build a house but put it in my son's name?
If the event of your husband's death happens before the boy is an adult then the in-laws have the right to claim it and do with it as they please.

3. What if we build a house in MY name? (I’m half Saudi)
The house would belong to you. No one would have any say in it.

However, the in-laws could go to court and fight the fact that they do not want their grandchildren to be raised in a home without a man in it for reasons such as safety, men, emergencies, etc. The judge will side with them. They will either force you to move out, or sell your house and move in with your in-laws (or wherever the inlaws want you to be near them) or keep your house and your in laws take the kids.

4. What if my husband wrote a document stating in his death I am allowed to leave with my kids at any time?
The muhram still has to allow it.

5. What if my husband dies and I choose to remarry in Saudi?
The in laws will keep the kids and you go over and visit.
~wgaw: this is not always the case if you marry with a muttah/ mutah {see wgaw blog archive:}.  With a muttah marriage a woman has absoultely no rights what so ever. This includes being banned from seeing your children, if your husband dies or divorces you, should your husband or in-laws decide to do this, no matter how old the children are.~

6. What if my husband makes a will and signs everything over to me?
The judges here do not look at wills as they go by sharia and still divide everything equally.
~wgaw: I'm presuming the word, 'equally' in the sentence above means according to the rules in the Koran.  In which case females recieve half that given to males, as stated in the Qur'an: Women, 4:11; "A male shall inherit twice as much as a female."~

7. What if I co-own some kind of property with my husband, who dies?
His share will be distributed as the judge sees fit to his family.

8. What if my ex-Saudi husband dies? Will I then have custody of the children?
No, his father or brother will.
~wgaw: if the boys are aged between 7 and 18, yes. But if they are aged between 1 and 6 they can stay with their mother, as long as it's a marriage and not a muttah. If the children are aged 18 or older then they can choose who they wish to live with~


Safiyyah said...

ugghhhh ...

wgaw said...

It is a bit uggghhh isn't it?

Anonymous said...

what do the local women think about this? are any of them trying to change the law?