Introduction to Islamic marriage and divorce
For a valid Islamic marriage there needs to be mutual agreement, two adult witnesses and a marriage gift (mahr) to be paid by the groom to the bride. Many couples will also enter into a marriage contract (nikah). In this, the couple will seek to agree the terms and conditions of their marriage. Under Sharia law, these conditions are sufficient to create an Islamic marriage. However, if the marriage takes place in England, it must take place at a registered mosque (or registered at a civil registry) to constitute a valid marriage under English law.
To end an Islamic marriage a declaration of divorce is made (talaq). The rules around this vary significantly between countries. Following the talaq, a period of waiting (iddah) is also required, during which time the couple are supposed to try to reconcile. If there is no reconciliation after this period, the marriage will automatically come to an end under Islamic law. However, in England, a decree of divorce under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 must also be obtained to end any civilly recognised marriage.
Following an Islamic divorce abroad, under Sharia law the husband will no longer be financially responsible for the wife, and will not have to pay her spousal maintenance or make any capital payments (although he is still under an obligation to maintain the children of the marriage). The wife though may be able to bring financial proceedings in England based on a foreign divorce, under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceeding Act 1984. For more details, please refer to our guide to Islamic marriage and divorce.
How Vardags can help with your Islamic marriage and divorce
Vardags has a wealth of experience in dealing with unusual and complicated cases where parties have entered into Islamic marriages and/or Islamic divorces, and want to make or defend claims in England under English law. We work with the leading Islamic experts in the field, and can provide comprehensive advice in this area. We have acted for a number of high profile Muslim clients and we have been able to pioneer an approach in this area to secure our clients the result that they want.
The first step is to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors. Therefore, please call us on 020 7404 9390 or email us to make an appointment to come and see us.