Islamic law decrees that divorce should only be initiated when it is clear that the marriage can no longer continue and the differences between the couple are irreconcilable. A couple is expected to make genuine attempts to stay together. Once they have attempted to reconcile their differences, either husband or wife may initiate the divorce proceedings. The rules regulating each type of divorce are contained in the Koran. Each individual form of the Islamic religion within each country has different rules for divorces; however, the broad principles are similar.
When a divorce is initiated by a man, he may pronounce the talaq, a form of repudiation, three times. In some Islamic systems, he must then wait a period of three months. This period is known as the Iddat or Iddah. During this time the couple remain under the same roof but no sexual relations may take place. If the wife is pregnant, the waiting time is extended until she gives birth. During the Iddat the husband may decide to reconcile with his wife, and he may halt the divorce process at any time. In certain Islamic countries, for example, Tunisia, the right of talaq has been removed, and all divorces must take place through a court of law.
Khul or Khula
A divorce initiated by a wife is known as khul or khula. In general, the husband must give his consent to the wife's request for the divorce to be valid. If the husband does not willingly grant his wife's request, she can go to court to seek dissolution of the marriage. The wife usually gives her husband some property or repays the "mahr" that she received from him when they married.
If the husband and wife develop a mutual aversion to each other and wish to divorce, this is known as mubarat. Again, there is a waiting period during which time the couple may change their minds. In the case of mubarat divorce, the wife usually must repay money or property to her husband.
Divorce by faskh takes place in a court of law. It is usually initiated by the wife in certain circumstances, including that the husband has failed to support her or he has become insane. A court may also grant divorce where the husband has been unusually cruel to his wife by assaulting her.
Divorce by li'an occurs where the husband in a court of law accuses his wife of adultery. He must usually present witnesses to prove his case.
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