Maintenance Provided to the Divorce Muslim Women during the Waiting Period (Idda)

If the divorced woman is pregnant, she is entitled to maintenance until delivery. The rate of maintenance is fixed by mutual agreement or, in the absence of agreement, by experts (mukhbirun). The Sijills show fewer than 50 claims for maintenance during the ‘idda although about 1,900 divorces of all kinds were confirmed and registered by the courts.

There are several reasons “for the small number of maintenance claims: about three-quarters of the different kinds of talaq divorces are, as stated, by agreement between the parties, and such divorces usually involve renunciation of maintenance during the ‘idda, the spouses may on divorce determine the wife’s rights by agreement, so that the wife need not file a claim for maintenance; if maintenance is not claimed within the waiting- period, the right to it lapses.

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Only in one case did the husband agree to pay maintenance although the waiting-period had expired. Rebelliousness of the wife at the time of the divorce was a (rare) ground for loss of the right to maintenance.

From the evidence, it appears that the wife did not usually enjoy her right to maintenance during the ‘idda, just as she did not enjoy her right to deferred dower this, too, because she renounced the right on divorce by agreement.

On the other hand, as set out above, a revolutionary change in the matter of ensuring the divorced woman’s subsistence was the practice of paying her maintenance beyond the waiting-period: for life, until remarriage, or until she became entitled to a National Insurance pension.

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