Saudi women to get divorce confirmation by SMS from courts

Posted January 08, 2019

The Saudi Justice Ministry has issued a new regulation today, making it mandatory for all Saudi women to receive a text message when the court issues their divorce papers. You may also view all documents about a termination of their marriage on the website of the Ministry.

Saudi courts will use an SMS or text message to let women know when they are divorced.

Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East and North Africa consultant for gender rights group Equality Now, called the new measure "a step in the right direction".

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According to lawyer Nisreen al-Ghamdi, some men now register divorce deeds at the courts without telling their wives. So women are allowed to drive since a year ago vehicle, they were also admitted for the first time in sports stadiums. In some cases this also led to men impersonating their wives or using previously valid powers of attorney in order to gain control of their ex-wives finances. In these cases, often referred to as secret divorces, women often end up missing out on alimony payments.

This move is coming after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler spearheads a liberalisation drive in the conservative kingdom, which has some of the world's toughest restrictions on women, AFP reports.

But many Saudi women have taken to social media to push from more freedom, including protesting against the country's strict dress codes with women required to wear an abaya - a loose, all-covering robe - when in public.

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At present, it is a casual practise in the Kingdom that Saudi men file for divorce without bringing it into the knowledge of their wives.

Guardianship laws are legal codes based on a strict interpretation of Shariah law that ensure women in Saudi Arabia remain a legal dependent.

Furthermore, Bin Salman is pushing to achieve greater female participation in the workforce through a number of strategies, the Financial Times reported.

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