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Our blog provides illustrated practical guides for those going through the divorce process, plus news on divorce, money and family breakdown.

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2 August 2012

Islamic tradition 'is no defence against divorce ruling'

A Muslim doctor who ignored a judge's order to pay his former wife £60,000 maintenance has been told by the Court of Appeal that he cannot rely on Muslim tradition to absolve him of his financial responsibilities, reports The Telegraph.

Lord Justice Ward ruled that a belief that maintenance payments to spouses were "illegitimate or illegal according to Islamic culture" was no defence to orders made in English divorce courts.

Dr Zaid al-Saffar, a consultant rheumatologist at Scarborough Hospital, North Yorks, and the head of the town's Islamic society, married Hanan Al-Saffar in April 2000 and the couple had two children before separating in 2008.

On the basis of Sharia tradition, in which dowries are often paid by the groom to the bride on marriage, Mrs Saffar, who now lives in Blackburn, signed away her half of the matrimonial home.

In traditional Muslim societies it is often expected that a divorced wife will be supported by her extended family and there is no expectation that the former husband will pay maintenance.

However, Judge Alan Jones at Blackburn County Court ordered Dr Saffar to pay his former wife £60,000 in personal maintenance for her contribution to the marriage.

Read more here.