Muslim Divorce in Singapore: Maintenance
Nafkah Iddah & Mutaah
Are you Muslim and in the process of getting a divorce or are thinking of applying one? You might have some questions on what can you get out of the divorce. These following questions might help you out.
Can I get Maintenance?
Yes, you may seek maintenance from your husband in a Muslim divorce. Spouse maintenance is the financial support paid by a party to a marriage to their former spouse.
The divorce maintenance for Muslims is different from one that a non-Muslim would obtain. When a Syariah Court grants a divorce between Muslim couples, it will not provide any maintenance order for you or the children. The Syariah Court can only grant two forms of financial provision to the wife, a nafkah iddah and a mutaah.
What is Nafkah Iddah and Mutaah?
Nafkah iddah is maintenance during the period which a divorced woman or widow is forbidden by Muslim law to remarry. This period is also known as iddah. It can be calculated by three to four of your menstrual cycles, which will add up to about three months, dependent the duration of your menstrual cycle.
If you are pregnant, the entire duration of the pregnancy would be added to the stipulated period of 3 months. Your husband would have to pay a sum of money equivalent to the duration during this period.
Mutaah, on the other hand, is a ‘consolatory gift’ that your spouse will pay you upon divorce. The general idea is that the mutaah sum can be calculated based on a formula of a specific amount of money per day. For example, $4.00 multiplied by the number of days spent in the marriage will be the sum payable. The court may order a specific lump sum to be paid to you, dependent on the case at hand.
He is Not Rich. Where Will the Money Come From?
The amount of nafkah iddah and mutaah is proposed by the wife and is subjected to the Court’s discretion to determine what is appropriate, after taking into account the husband’s ability to pay and the circumstances surrounding the divorce.
The mutaah sum can be enforced in the Family Justice Courts and in some instances, the could may order that the matrimonial property such as your house be sold, and the proceeds from it divided accordingly. Your spouse’s share would then be used to pay the mutaah after settling any outstanding loan or debts to the bank.
What About Custody?
Custody battles in a contested divorce might get messy for you, especially so when your situation is already confusing enough. In the event that you and your spouse cannot agree to a proposed parenting plan during mediation, the Courts will decide on who wins custody, based on the welfare the parent can provide, reports from social support family agencies and other factors such as the child’s wish, financial stability and age of the child to name a few. There is a misconception that mothers have an advantage over custody in a contested divorce, but matters of child custody will be dependent on the circumstances of the case.
What if Want to Seek Civil Maintenance as Well?
Yes, you can. To obtain a civil maintenance order, you would need to go to the Family Justice Courts and apply to seek maintenance from your husband. You may also seek maintenance orders on behalf of your child as well.
Can I Seek Maintenance if I had Divorced Overseas?
Based on a recent case law of TMO v TMP , you can still seek relief from the Singapore Civil Court for ancillary matters, even if you were divorced in an overseas Syariah Court. It must be noted for this case; the wife had initially applied to the Singapore Syariah court to divide the matrimonial assets but did not have jurisdiction to do so as it was not the court that dissolved the marriage but had the power under Muslim law to award her a sum from the nafkah iddah and mutaah. Depending on the complexity of your divorce, you may or may not receive the full amount of maintenance that you would have expected.
What if My Spouse Changes Religion During the Marriage and We Divorce?
If you had applied to the Court for and obtain a decree of fasakh on the grounds of apostasy (renunciation of a religious belief, in this case, Islam), you can get a divorce from your spouse and it is unlikely that you lose your right to the payment of mutaah. Such matters tend to get very complicated and it would be best to seek a good Muslim Lawyer to help you out.
How Can We Help You
Maintenance matters, especially in a contested divorce can get rather messy. Filing for a Muslim divorce and the divorce procedures in Singapore are delicate issues and may be too technical for you to fully understand alone. We understand that going through such an event in your life is difficult and emotional. At I.R.B Law we have experienced lawyers who are well versed in Civil and Syariah divorce proceedings who will be able to guide you through and explain to you throughout each stage of your divorce.
So contact us so that we can advise you on your matter and help you focus on getting back up on your feet. Our first consultation is usually free as we wish to focus on you and not your wallet. Don’t hesitate and reach us at Hello@irblaw.com.sg or call us at +65 6589 8913.
The information contained in this article is provided for general information only and may not reflect current status in relation to applicable law, cases, settlements or judgements. Nothing contained on this website or article is intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be construed as I.R.B Law LLP agreeing to provide legal services to you. You acknowledge and agree that your use of this website shall not create a lawyer-client relationship with I.R.B Law LLP.