Despite their differences, women in Pakistan and the UK share many common rights. These include the right to claim damages for financial losses, the right to divorce without fault, and the right to remarry. In this article, we will take a closer look at these rights and examine what the difference is between them.
During the 1950s, the NAWL (National Association for Women Lawyers) initiated the initiative to change the way divorces were dealt with. It was aimed at reducing the impact of allegations of blame in a divorce. It was a campaign that did not relate to heightened domesticity during the period.
The idea was to end the practice of finger pointing and blame that can lead to unnecessary conflict and added stress. It also aims to reduce the impact of allegations of fault on children.
The new process requires couples to sign a statement stating their marriage is irretrievably broken. This may or may not include the claim that one party was unfaithful. Regardless, it is conclusive evidence for divorce.
The UK has changed its divorce law to a no fault model. It is called the “Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act” and is due to come into force on 6 April 2022. It has received support from many people. During the second reading of the bill, 231 MPs voted in favour. However, 16 opposed the bill.
Financial claims after divorce
Whether you have been divorced for a year or a decade, you have a good chance of having some sort of financial claim against your ex. This is because most marriages have some level of financial interdependence. You may be able to make a claim for income, capital or pension provision. But if you’re not sure, speak to a family lawyer.
The court expects full disclosure of your assets. If you don’t disclose everything, you can be held in contempt of court. The consequences can be severe. You can lose your financial settlement entirely or have it renegotiated.
There are also other financial claims that you can make. For example, you can claim periodic payments for spousal maintenance. You can also ask the court to vary its order if you can prove your ex’s financial circumstances have changed.
Compared to the UK, Pakistan’s Islamic divorce laws have seen some remarkable reforms. Although the Islamic marriage laws still lack gender equality, Pakistani judges have followed a progressive trend, ensuring that women are equally able to obtain divorces.
Pakistan’s superior courts have been working on improving the Islamic divorce law. A recent case, AF v AF, demonstrates that Pakistani judges have worked to ensure that divorce is a legal process. A Pakistani advocate testified about the divorce process in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has also made a point of quoting the Qur’an to emphasise mutual rights and obligations. The Qur’an does not allow Muslim husbands to divorce their wives without her consent. It is necessary for the husband to wait three months before granting the first talaq. This allows the couple to think about their future and reconcile before a third talaq is given.
Using a UK lawyer to obtain a divorce in Pakistan may not be as effective as you would think. In fact, the UK courts have ruled that a divorce in Pakistan is only possible if both parties are nationals of Pakistan.
In addition, the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973 came into effect on January 1 1974. This act added divorce provisions to the already existing laws governing divorce in the UK.
The Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961 enumerated the many ways that a Muslim husband can dislodge his wife from his arms. These included Talaq-e-Ahsan and Khula. It also introduced the concept of restitution of conjugal rights.
The Matrimonial Causes Act, 1973 (UK) will also make its way into Pakistani courts. This will give additional grounds for a contested divorce.
The cases outlined here highlight a range of issues in relation to the rights of women in the UK and Pakistan. In particular, these cases demonstrate that gendered agency is a complex and varied construct. In these instances, the gendered nature of the agency involved differs across different domains and scales of power.
Afzal and Nida’s case highlights the ambivalences that can surround transnational marriages. In Afzal’s case, he believed he had divorced his first husband, but it was not recognised by the English court. He had also hoped his cousin would be less assertive and more willing to compromise.