Protect the rights of single mothers

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Okaz

There is no doubt that enacting and amending laws are important elements in meeting the needs of societies and protecting and developing them, especially if such laws are applied firmly and effectively.

The Ayoun Jeddah Organization recently held an important forum for single mothers and invited me to discuss the rights of mothers in the absence of the head of the household who has failed to care for his family.

Through this forum, a dialogue started with the attendees, about 30 women in total, that shed light on their suffering, which ranged from a lack of financial support, partners not fulfilling their responsibilities or refusing to give them a divorce. Their struggle also included issues that came up after divorce, such as custody of the children and the processing of official documents.

After some time had passed, I asked the attendees a question: Do you know what your rights are and how to claim them? I was surprised that most of them did not know their rights or the procedures for obtaining their rights. Some of them stated that they were offered the opportunity to negotiate their rights and the rights of their children. They accepted due to a lack of knowledge of the law and their rights.

There is a grave risk in women accepting a husband or ex-husband’s moves to impinge on their rights by forcing them to give up custody of their children in exchange for divorce or waiving their rights of alimony for custody. Certainly, the absence of a personal status law system has contributed significantly to the lack of clarity of those provisions that clarify their rights.

The subject of codification is still a topic of dispute between supporters and opponents, but those who meet these women and listen to their suffering will inevitably realize the interests gained by issuing such regulations.

Today, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the best reference in terms of following the provisions of Shariah and its application but there is hardly any comparative study or international report to show this. The codification of these laws has become an urgent need and the benefits of doing so cannot be ignored; from reducing the disparity of judicial rulings in similar cases and protecting the rights of the family to clarifying the extent to which Islamic legislation distinguishes the family and its preservation of principles and standards of justice. In addition, these rules will facilitate access and increase knowledge, which means greater awareness of laws, something that can potentially result in a reduction in the number of divorces and other disputes.

We are very optimistic that this system will soon come into being, under the wise leadership of King Salman, may Allah protect him, who always seeks to develop and maintain the bonds of family and society.


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