8 Commonly Asked Questions About Syariah Law Divorce

triple talaq

How is Mutaah calculated?

It is calculated based on a balance between the husband’s various assets. Such as income, property, and the wife’s needs.

What is a Hakam Syariah Court?

Hakam is known as arbitration, that aids in facilitating an amicable divorce or reconciliation. During this hearing, the Court will also hear each party’s affidavits to decide.

What is Iddah?

Iddah is the time where the woman cannot re-marry after divorcing her husband. This period lasts for 3 months.

Why is iddah important?

It is important as it allows for the chance of reconciliation with her husband, should they wish to. During this time period, the wife can also claim ‘Nafkah Iddah’, which is maintenance for this time period of 3 months.

How do I start Khuluk?

To begin divorce proceedings on the ground of Khuluk, one first needs to meet the pre-divorce eligibilities.

  • A Singaporean or;
  • Lived in Singapore for 3 consecutive years before filing for a divorce or;
  • Has a permenant address in Singapore

Once you have satisfied the above pre-requisites, you can then start a divorce on the ground of Khuluk, by filing an application to the Syriah Court Singapore.

From there, parties then need to attend a marriage counselling programme and if there are children to the marriage, a parenting programme.

What follows from there is the filing of originating summons, service of the originating summons, mediation, pre-trial conference and then a hearing/hearing with Hakam(arbitration).

How does Islam divorce work?

In a Syariah Law divorce, the ground for divorce is dependent on the husband and the wife

If in the case that you were the husband, you do not necessarily need grounds to divorce your wife. This is because men in Muslim marriages can ‘talak’ which translates to “to release” or “to divorce”. Talak can be pronounced 3 times. For the first two times, it is said that reconciliation is still a possibility. However, this is not probable after the third Talak has been pronounced.

If you were the wife in the marriage seeking to divorce your husband, you have 3 options for grounds for divorce:

Option 1: Khuluk

  1. Divorcing on the ground of Khuluk can only be done by application by the wife. This is used in instances when the husband refuses to pronounce the divorce on the wife, that is by using Talak. However, there are a few things to take note of using the ground of divorce such as this.
  2. If after the summons has been sent to the husband, and he agrees to the divorce. Then the Syariah Court will then decide on the amount that the wife must give as a form of redemption to the husband. This redemption amount is calculated based on the financial status of both the husband and the wife.
  3. If the husband, however, decides not to consent to the divorce then the Court will refer the case to Hakam (arbitration).
  4. It should also be noted that in this form of divorce, it is considered irreversible meaning that there is no chance that the couple will reconcile. As such, there is no period of Iddah where the couple might reconcile. This also means that the wife cannot claim maintenance for iddah.

Option 2: Cerai Taklik

The second option is Cerai Taklik, which is the divorce on special conditions. As under Muslim law, a marriage is viewed as a civil contract. During the marriage ceremony, ‘Taklik’ is pronounced. That is the condition of the marriage, in which both parties get to decide on the conditions and mutually agree on them.

For instance, the husband cannot commit adultery during the time of the marriage. However, if the husband breaks this Taklik, then the wife can file an application for divorce because Taklik has been broken.

To file an application to divorce under this ground, the wife would then have to prove that the husband had broken the Taklik.

A divorce on such a ground is also considered a revocable divorce, as such there is a period of Iddah, and the wife can claim for maintenance for the period of Iddah.

Option 3: Fasakh

The third option would be Fasakh. According to section 49(1) of the Administration of Muslim Law Act 1966:

– A married woman is entitled to apply to the Court for and obtain a decree of fasakh on any one or more of the following grounds:

  1. That the husband has neglected or failed to provide for her maintenance for a period of 3 months;
  2. That the husband has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 3 years or upwards and such sentence has become final;
  3. That the husband has failed to perform, without reasonable cause, his marital obligations for a period of one year;
  4. That the husband was impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be so;
  5. That the husband is insane or is suffering from some chronic disease the cure of which would be lengthy or impossible and which is such as to make the continuance of the marriage relationship injurious to her;
  6. That the husband treats her with cruelty, that is to say –
    • Habitually assaults her or makes her life miserable by cruelty of conduct even if such conduct does not amount to physical ill-treatment;
    • Associates with women of ill repute or leads an infamous life;
    • Attempts to force her to lead an immoral life;
    • Obstructs her in the observance of her religious profession or practice;
    • Lives and cohabits with another woman who is not his wife; or
    • If he has more wives than one, does not treat her equitably in accordance with the requirements of the Muslim law;
  7. or any other ground which is recognised as valid for the dissolution of marriage by fasakh under the Muslim law

What does Syariah Court do?

  1. According to section 35 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act, the Syariah Court has the jurisdiction to hear and decide on disputes relating to:
    • Marriage
    • Divorce in Muslim law;
    • Betrothal, nullity of marriage or judicial separation;
    • The disposition or division of property on divorce or nullification of marriage;
    • The payment of emas kahwin (dowry), marriage expenses (hantaran belanja), maintenance and consolatory gifts or mutaah.
  2. Section 115 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act also states the Syariah Court’s jurisdiction to issue a Inheritance Certificate to those who applies to the Court to claim for inherited property. This issuance, however, is only after the court hears about the facts and circumstances of the matter.

How long does divorce take to be finalised in Syariah Court?

In situations where the divorce is contested, this can usually take up till 1 year.

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