Our Islamic family and divorce solicitors are here to guide you through your divorce and separation procedures in compliance with your faith and the UK law.
Getting an Islamic divorce can be a complex process. A Muslim man looking to divorce his wife in the UK will not only need to divorce his wife in line with Islamic law and potentially pay the mahr but also finalise his divorce with a decree absolute through the family courts if their marriage was recognised under English Law.
Islamic Marriage in UK Law
An Islamic marriage is recognised under UK law if the Nikah took place in a country where this type of marriage is recognised by law, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Iraq.
The marriage is also recognised by UK law if the couple in addition to their Nikah underwent a civil marriage.
What is Talaq
The word ‘Talaq’ is based on the Arabic word ‘ṭalaḳ’, meaning divorce. Talaq is often also translated to the word ‘repudiation’, which is defined as a rejection of a proposal or idea.
There are 2 main classifications of Talaq; ‘Talaq Al-Sunnah’ and ‘Talaq Al-Bid’ah’. The Arabic word ‘Bid’Ah’ can be translated into the English word ‘innovation’.
Talaq Al-Sunnah is thought to be confirm Muhammad’s teachings, and Talaq Al-Bid’ah, as the name suggests, is a derived version of Talaq Al-Sunnah seen as an innovation of the initial law.
The main difference for Talaq Al-Bid’ah is that the man does not have to go through a waiting period, and can divorce his wife with one statement.
Within the principle of Talaq Al-Sunnah the couple separating will go through a waiting period of three months after the husband has stated he wants to divorce.
The waiting period is intended to give couples the chance to re-conciliate their differences and continue as their lives as a married couple. However, where a man has pronounced three divorces, on three different occasions, he can neither take back his former wife, nor remarry her.
During the waiting period the couple must refrain from sexual intercourse as failing to do so is a physical statement to withdraw the request for divorce. The divorce will only become final once the waiting period has passed.
Talaq Al-Sunnah can be further divided into ‘Talaq Al-Ahsan’ and ‘Talaq Al-Hasan’ that outline their respective deviations on the Talaq Al-Sunnah process and waiting period.
Under general sharia law, the man can divorce his wife by saying the word ‘Talaq’ three times. However, this form of Talaq is disliked. This practice does vary, and other rules do further apply, such as specific waiting periods, witnesses present and state of mind of the man at the time of divorce.
In the UK, the man can apply for divorce to the sharia council. The process requesting divorce with the sharia council is complex and can become lengthy if not handled efficiently.
The full process is highlighted below for a better understanding of what to expect when a man wishes to divorce according to sharia law in the United Kingdom.
UK law and Islamic divorce
If your marriage is legally recognised in the UK you must also apply for your divorce in civil court. To do so you will need to follow the below steps in addition to the sharia law procedures.
In order to file for divorce you will need to prove your marriage has broken down. Your grounds for divorcing your wife need to be one of the following:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separated longer than 2 years and you both agree to a divorce
- Separated for at least 5 years and only you agree to the divorce
The civil divorce procedure can be long, complex and emotional. If you had a civil marriage in the UK or you had your Nikah in a country where the Nikah is recognised by law you will need to obtain a civil divorce and follow the below steps in addition to obtaining your Talaq:
Forms and fees
Fill in the divorce petition form, pay the fee and send your forms to your local divorce centre
Agreement or disagreement
When the wife agrees with the divorce petition the divorce will go ahead at this stage, however, if she does not she can decide to start her own divorce proceedings against you
When a divorce is not agreed upon and both sides file petitions, the court will hear your case
Sharia Divorce Procedure
Submission of application form to the Sharia Council
Notification to the wife by the Council
Council to check if all obligations regarding the dower are met
Issuing of the Islamic divorce certificates
Support From Our Islamic Solicitors
We support our clients throughout the Islamic divorce process from beginning to end.
We prepare your application and legal documents for you and ensure all documentation are submitted to the sharia council in a timely manner.
We further support you through any mediation and reconciliation meetings if you feel this could be beneficial to you and are also able to lead negotiations in connection with any financial disputes.
Talaq fee packages
Our standard fee for our support services for Talaq is £250 + VAT.
If matters proceed to sharia council, then council fees will be charged and will be, depending on the council, between £225 and £250.
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