A woman's rights after divorce
- On 29 November 2004 I married a young Egyptian journalist working for a Kuwaiti news agency and joined him in Kuwait on 21 January 2005. The marriage contract did not include any provisions stipulating that I travel to certain countries.
- I returned from Kuwait after a dispute with my husband which escalated into him beating me severely. The reason for this was my refusal to apply for immigration to Canada where he wanted me to give birth as a means of acquiring the Canadian nationality. Please note that my husband did not acquaint me with his intention prior to our marriage.
- We returned to Egypt on 3 June 2005, and I refused to travel to Canada to visit his brothers and execute his plan of giving birth there.
- Matters did not improve between us and I remained in my father's apartment in Egypt. During this time, my husband did not send me any money and divorced me in absentia on 26 September 2005. He did not take me back. I gave birth to my child on 23 November 2005.
- All efforts towards reconciliation and a subsequent reunion with a new marriage contract failed.
Please clarify the following:
- My right to spousal support, its duration, and whether it is due for one year or more or less, waiting period expenses from the date of divorce until the date of delivery, and alimony and its duration.
- The amount of the above expenses and whether they are estimated based on his income in Kuwait where he has been working since our marriage until present.
- Am I eligible to receive financial support for the period between my return from Kuwait on 3rd June until my divorce on 26th September?
- Expenses of my medical treatment, delivery and the baby clothes I bought before giving birth.
- The sum for legal child support and whether it includes clothing, food and medical expenses in addition to a fee for breastfeeding and accommodations for the custodial parent. I live in my father's apartment and it is not possible for me to reside in the marital house because it is in the same building where my husband's family lives.
- My eligibility to receive a deferred dowry which is 10,000 EGP.
- My right to the furniture (we both contributed towards buying the furniture but did not draw up a registry of furniture signed by my husband].
- My husband did not pay me any dowry and the sum documented in the contract is 1 EGP. Am I entitled to receive mahr al-mithl [the dowry typically paid to brides from the same social class]?
- Paternal and paternal grandparent visitations. Can these be scheduled so as not to cause me any inconveniences?
A woman is entitled to kind treatment from her husband during their marriage. Allah the Almighty says,
O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower—Ye have given them—except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equityif ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good. [An-Nisaa`: 19]
She is also entitled to expenses for food and drink and clothing, as well as expenses for her needs depending on her husband's financial status in accordance to the words of Allah Who says,
Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief. [At-Talaq: 7]
A woman's rights after divorce
In the case of a revocable divorce, a wife is entitled to receive the deferred dowry included in the marriage contract after her waiting period ends. She is likewise entitled to receive financial support during the waiting period which expires after any of the following:
- Three menstrual cycles (if she experiences menstruation).
- Three months (if she is premenarchal, menopausal or does not experience menstruation at all).
- Childbirth (for a pregnant woman).
A wife is also entitled to receive alimony estimated to equal at least two years of expenses while taking into consideration the husband's financial status.
If the inquirer was divorced in absentia on 26 September 2005 as mentioned in her request, she is entitled to:
- Claim financial support for the period from the date of her arrival from Kuwait on 3 June 2005 until her divorce on 26 September 2005.
- Receive waiting period expenses until she gives birth.
- Claim expenses covering the cost of childbirth, medical treatment and clothes for the child.
- Claim child support, a fee for custody and suitable accommodations for both her and the child.
- It is not permissible for the inquirer to claim a greater sum than the dowry registered in the marriage contract i.e. she is not entitled to mahr al-mithl.
- Paternal visitation must be arranged in terms of mutual consent; otherwise the parents are to resort to the courts. The same applies to the household furnishings.
The above answers the question and Allah the Almighty knows best.