Islamic laws allow Muslims to obtain a valid divorce.
Muslims in the United States have to obtain a divorce decree from a civil court clothed with authority and jurisdiction. Otherwise, the divorce will not have the force and effect of the law.
Just like non-Muslim Americans, Muslim Americans can also resort to private methods to mediate their divorces and resolve disputes. Imams are the ones who act as a third-party arbitrator in these situations.
The process of divorce in Islam
There is no uniform way to do such across the country. An attempt at reconciliation is the first objective of Imams, followed by overseeing the divorce process if reconciliation proves to be futile.
In wife-initiated divorces, the imam asks the husband for his thoughts on the divorce before giving his approval. This puts the wife at a disadvantage because there is no similar rule for husband-initiated divorces in Islam.
Nonetheless, since there is no uniformity in the process, different imams apply different standards for wife-initiated divorces.
When to utilize the services provided by American family law courts
Like non-secular divorce cases, division of property and child custody also issues in Muslim divorces. When there is no agreement between the spouses on the financial and child custody related issues, asking a civil family court for a resolution is a common way to go.
The wife does not receive spousal maintenance if the marriage is short and no children were born of that marriage. The courts in Texas will center the negotiations in short marriages on the division of community property.
The Civil Courts adjudicate on wife-initiated divorces of long marriages involving children.
Seeking the adjudication of the civil courts can greatly benefit women since, after possibly many years of attempting to get permission from an imam to divorce a spouse who is not willing to do so, a request for a divorce in the state of Texas is absolute. This means that it is not dependent on the decision of the other spouse who does not want a divorce.
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