Divorce Law and Procedure in Pakistan

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Marriage is a civil contract in Islam which can be dissolved at any time like all any other legal contract. However, if either of the spouses dies, the marriage comes to an automatic dissolution, according to the provisions of Islamic law.

Divorce literally means the legal dissolution of marriage by a court or other competent body. Islam has given the right to dissolve a marriage to both men and women. The husband has a unilateral right of Talaq in Islam, while the wife can only exercise the right of divorce if it is granted to her in her marriage contract i.e. nikahnama. In cases where the right to divorce is not granted to the wife, she can file for Khula before the family court of law, in accordance with the Islamic ruling.

There are three ways through in an Islamic marriage can be dissolved. However, regardless of the method through which the marriage was resolved, it is vital for both the parties to follow the legal divorce procedure in Pakistan. For understanding divorce in Pakistan, it is essential to learn about the divorce law in Pakistan.

Considering the importance of this issue, we have outlined a detailed understanding of the divorce law and procedure in Pakistan.

Divorce or Talaq by Husband

According to the Muslim Personal Law and under section 7 of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance, the husband is required to send a written notice to the Union Council when dissolving his marriage. He can pronounce Talaq orally or through a Divorce Deed; however, a documentary proof is needed representing his will to end his marriage. The Union Council then sends the notice to the wife and it constitutes arbitration Council within 30 days of receiving the notice. After the Iddat period (90 days since the notice of divorce was received by the union council) is over, the divorce certificate by the union council is issued stating that the Talaq is now effective.

It should be noted that verbal Talaq by the husband is not recognized by law. If the husband fails to send a written divorce notice to his wife, the divorce will not be treated as legal.

Mutual Divorce by the Husband and Wife

A mutual divorce in Pakistan occurs when both the partners mutually agree to dissolve their marriage. Under this divorce process in Pakistan, there is no need to move the courts in relation to that matter, which means there are no legal issues involved. Both the husband and wife need to sign a Mutual Divorce Deed and send a written notice to the concerned Union Council in accordance with section 8 of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance. The same procedure as of a normal Talaq notice will be adopted by the council.

Demand of Divorce of Khula by Wife

The Khula procedure in Pakistan abides by the Khula law in Pakistan. If the wife is not granted the right to divorce in her Nikahnama, she will have to file for Khula for the dissolution of marriage. To apply for Khula, the wife will need to file a suit for Khula in the Family Court under the West Pakistan Family Courts Ordinance. She can do so on the grounds that she cannot live with her husband ‘within the limits prescribed by Allah’. This statement will act alone as an oath and will be sufficient to establish her Khula case.

Divorce in Islam is disliked by Allah, however, in certain marriage cases, there is no solution to a marriage except for dissolving it.

The Cases in Which Wife May Seek Khula

Under Muslim Marriages Act 1939, judicial khula can be granted without the consent of the husband. However, this can only happen if the wife is ready to forgo her financial rights. There are certain grounds on which a woman can seek judicial khula. These include:

  • Desertion of husband for four years.
  • Husband contracting a polygamous marriage in contravention of established legal procedures.
  • Husband’s failure to perform and fulfil marital obligation for three years.
  • Husband’s serious illness or insanity for two years.
  • Abuse by husband (physical and verbal), mistreatment or unequal treatment in presence of co-wives.
  • Husband’s imprisonment for seven years.
  • Husband’s impotence since the time of marriage.

Once all the legal procedures are completed (regardless of the divorce method), you can obtain a computerized NADRA divorce certificate from the same Union Council.

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