Tying the Knot


The Legalities of Marriage

Before any couple sets off onto a path of wedded bliss they should avoid potential headaches and heartache by taking time to create a pre-nuptial contract that covers both bride and groom fairly, within the terms of the law. Cairo West Magazine sought advice from Moaataz El Dakar, a lawyer with ample experience in this field.

CWM: What should a young couple discuss and agree upon before marriage?

MD: They should set the terms for their life together in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic Sharia, in terms of their rights and/or obligations

Has it become more common now for the woman to claim her right for a divorce and state it in the marriage contract?

Yes, it has become more common to a certain extent. It allows the woman to go through the proceedings of a divorce without waiting for the husband’s consent. However a clause has to be mentioned in the marriage contract, more importantly stating that the wife preserves the right to a divorce, whenever she wants, however she wants. Without this clause the right to the divorce can be challenged by the husband using something called the ‘Right of Review’.

Have the laws on divorce changed in recent years?
The divorce law hasn’t changed since 1929, only bylaw No. 1 of 2000 has been added. It is about the right to divorce – Khul` (divorce based on a woman giving up her post divorce financial rights).


What legal advice do you offer young couples before marriage?

To legally document all financial matters. Like the dowry for example.

What are the most common legal problems that arise when a couple decides to divorce?
After divorce, disagreements usually occur concerning housing, alimony, child support, visitation rights etc.


What are the rights of a woman once she is divorced?

Egyptian law allows for a woman to receive three months’ alimony and two years of limited support, which is called Mutaa’. She also has the right to the delayed dowry that is stated in the initial marriage contract.

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