Going through a divorce is one of life’s more difficult experiences. It’s essential that you are supported and guided through the process by professional, sympathetic legal experts to ensure that the situation is resolved in the best way possible.
If you are Muslim and got married under Sharia law but now wish to separate from your spouse, you will need to undergo divorce proceedings that satisfy both the international requirements of the country in which you reside and/or got married, as well as the specific Sharia laws that apply to divorce in Islam.
Looking for an Islamic divorce solicitor?
Choosing a reputable, professional firm of divorce solicitors that have a firm grasp of Islamic divorce, Islamic family law and UK law will ensure that the process is organised and legally robust. Divorces in Islam can vary in the time they take to go through, depending on the complexity of the case in question and the various factors involved, such as arrangements for caring for children or other dependants and the division of property and assets.
How Shortlands solicitors can help you
Shortlands has built up experience in handling Islamic divorces in the UK, working closely with esteemed Sharia councils, Muslim counsellors, and religious scholars. The firm is also well-versed in ensuring adherence to UK civil divorce procedure and law. Our solicitors can offer services in multiple languages and have a very good understanding of the many complex aspects of getting a divorce as a Muslim.
Our specialist Islamic divorce solicitors are trained to offer a wide range of services around Muslim divorce law, from specialist mediation and arbitration to fulfilling the requirements of Talaq (male-initiated divorce), Khula (female-initiated divorce), Faskh-e-Nikah or Tafweedh-e Talaq, all carried out with compassion, sensitivity and common sense.
Additionally, we can help those embarking upon Muslim marriage by assisting couples in drafting marriage contracts, setting up Sharia-compliant pre-nuptial agreements, deciding on the Mahr (the gift given by the groom on the occasion of marriage) and other tasks related to Islamic marriage law.
How long will the divorce process take?
Under English law, both spouses are entitled to seek a divorce and it can be a complicated and emotional process, especially if children or other dependents are involved. We cannot give a set timescale for how long your divorce will take for this reason. We can say, however, that we will work closely with you to ensure that everything is conducted logically, correctly and sympathetically to wrap things up as quickly and as expertly as possible.
If you are unfamiliar with the Islamic divorce process or have questions pertaining to your individual circumstances, one of our expert team members can talk you through what you can expect to happen at each stage and how long the whole process might take to complete.
I don’t have a copy of my Nikaah certificate, what should I do?
Don’t worry if you are unable to lay your hands on your Nikaah certificate, this is not uncommon and we can still help you progress your divorce. You will need to try to track it down first, demonstrating that you are proactively making the effort to find it. The organisation that oversaw your Nikaah ceremony will usually have a duplicate copy on their files, so this is a good place to start your research.
If you really cannot find it, you will need to present other evidence of the validity of your marriage to the divorce panel to allow them to authorise your divorce to go ahead. Shortlands can offer advice and help you with this if required.
My ex-husband isn’t responding, what should I do?
As with divorces in any culture, things are not always simple when a couple are parting officially, and ex-spouses do not always comply, consent or facilitate a quick divorce process. If your ex-husband does not respond to you when he receives the Divorce papers, this is not an insurmountable issue.
So long as your solicitor can prove that he received the paperwork, or is aware that a divorce has been requested and arrangement put into place, the divorce panel can move onto the next stage even without receiving his acknowledgement.
What is Khula?
A Muslim wife has the right to end her Islamic marriage in two different ways. A Khula is a divorce procedure started by the woman, in which the husband and wife both give their consent for the union to be dissolved. Both parties must agree to certain terms, such as what will happen to the Mahr. If your husband does not give his consent or does not respond to your petition to instigate a Khula, you can obtain a divorce using the Faskh process, which is carried out in accordance with Sharia Council protocol.
As with the Talaq process for male petitioners (see below) Khula and Faskh procedures will not dissolve a marriage following a UK civil wedding ceremony; this must be resolved separately via the divorce law of the country in which the wedding took place.
Talaq in Islam
Under Muslim divorce law, Talaq is the name for when the husband initiates a divorce. It is expected that the first try to seek arbitration or mediation to see if the union can be sustained. If it is decided that the best course of action is divorcing, the husband must submit an application form to the Sharia Council to request the dissolution of the marriage.
The Council then notifies the wife and checks that all the dower obligations are in order, including what will happen to the Mahr and any other financial arrangements that are part of the divorcing man’s claims. If everything is present and correct, the Sharia Council will issue the divorce certificate declaring the Nikah, or Islamic marriage, over.
If a Muslim couple has also gone through a formal UK civil marriage ceremony, they will need to follow separate UK legal protocols to dissolve the marriage by divorce according to English law. Again, this is something that Shortlands solicitors can help you sort out.
Types of Talaq
Under Islamic divorce law, there are different types of Talaq, including Talaq Al-Sunnah’ and Talaq Al Bid’Ah’. The former follows the strict teachings of Muhammad (SAW).
Enables the man to initiate divorce in Islam three times over. After each Talaq is declared by the husband, there is a waiting period, during which the wife can stay in the matrimonial home and the husband can agree to take her back and halt the divorce proceedings if he wishes. After the third instance of Talaq, the divorce is considered final and the certificate issued.
Talaq Al-Bid’Ah is an innovative adaptation of the original law that has certain differences, predominantly that the husband does not have to go through a waiting period; he can divorce his wife immediately in just one statement.
How can we reconcile after one Talaq?
If a couple decides to continue in the marriage after the first Talaq has happened, they are entitled to halt the divorce proceedings and go back to their original circumstances of living together as a reconciled couple. This decision must take place in the waiting period after the first Talaq and the Sharia Council must be informed. Shortlands can help you with this process too, and ensure that all paperwork is in order.
Do you provide Islamic divorce letter samples?
Our family law and divorce specialists can provide you with Islamic divorce letter samples as part of the wider set of services for Muslim couples requiring specialist legal advice and support. Please speak to your solicitor to find out more about how we can help in this regard.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your situation
If you are looking for a London divorce solicitors’ firm with expertise in Sharia Council liaison, family law and divorce, please contact us by telephone or email to arrange an initial consultation.