Dragged to divorce: Saudi men, beware!

Judges can authorize police to detain men who are being sued by their wives for divorces and bring them to court by force. (Shutterstock)

Saudi judges in charge of family cases can authorize police to detain men who are being sued by their wives for divorces and bring them to court by force, according to the Ministry of Justice’s regulations that will go into force next week, Al-Watan daily reported.

The judge will only take this decision after making sure all avenues to resolve marital issues arising between couples amicably have been utilized.

Sources within the ministry told Al-Watan daily that the new regulations aim to expedite the processing of divorce cases filed by women against their husbands, some of whom tend to avoid attending court sessions with a view to prolonging proceedings and preventing their wives from getting access to their legal rights such as alimony and child custody, the sources said.

Once a police station has received the judge’s order for a husband’s detention, they will take swift action to search for him regardless of where he is and bring him by force to the court.

Once he has been caught and taken to court, he will sit in a hearing that will be held immediately the same day in order to end the case.

Ehab Al-Sulaimani, legal consultant, described the new regulations as a step in the right direction in order to reduce litigation times for family cases involving issues such as divorce, marriage annulment, alimony and child custody.

He said: “There are so many divorce cases piling up in courts because husbands make these cases drag on by refusing to turn up in court.

“Some cases might drag on for months, while some for years. The new regulations will be deterring for any husband who attempts to deprive his wife of her legal rights.”

He said the new regulations are fair to both parties and do not violate the rights of husbands.

Meanwhile, the ministry warned that it would impose strict penalties, including dismissal, for any official marriage registrar who solemnizes the marriage involving a Saudi to an expatriate, Makkah daily reported.

The ministry said that only judges at Shariah courts are authorized to perform this task, while registrars are limited to formalizing marriage contracts for Saudi couples only.

Any court that receives a marriage contract where one of the parties is non-Saudi for attestation has been told to refer the matter to the ministry immediately so action can be taken against the registrar responsible.

The ministry has recently imposed penalties on registrars who held marriage ceremonies without the presence of male guardians, while some went ahead even though medical reports required by couples were not submitted.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42