Child Custody Law

For years, my father’s cousin has been frightened about losing her daughter. She didn’t dare to ask for divorce eventhough she and her husband got seperated two years after their wedding. Her worst nightmare arises when she heard that he was in a relationship with a Muslim women and was about to change his religion. Her feared didn’t stem out of concern about his religious status, but more about her custody of her daughter that would drop immediatly if her husband converted.

Yesterday, she was talking about Queen Rania’s youtube channel. She said that Queen Rania is addressing the world, telling them how good we are at protecting our minorities and treating our women. Then she proceeded on questioning women rights in Jordan under a law that strips a woman her children just because her husband fall in love with another woman of a different religion. She is determined to sent a letter to the Queen about this matter.

I know that my Christian neighbour who is married to a Muslim went to the court and converted to Islam when she knew that her husband has married another woman on her. She was frightened of losing the custody of her two son, and so she took some protective measrument including giving away her own religion.

I wonder how much our women rights organizations are aware of such laws and how hard are they working on changing it.


  1. Fadi,I greatly sympathize with your cousin and her family, but I would like you to be aware that the Islamic law gives the custody of children to Mothers EVEN if they’re from a different religion. I think your cousin needs to seek some good advice from a good lawyer.As far as I know, for girls, she will have the custody up to the age of 12, and can be extended to the age of marriage if ruled so by a judge.So consult a good marriage lawyer, because (and I know this as a fact) Islamic Shariah would grant the (unmarried) Mother full custody (with Alimony and child support) EVEN if she was of a different religion. The age of custody for daughters is 12, and boys 10. The age can be extended by a judge until marriage age for daughters and 15 for boys.In fact, I am one of the people who believe that this is something that is unfair for Men. Because many men can be better parents than females.Again, consult a good lawyer, and don’t surrender to rumors and misconceptions


  2. Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of——————————————————————————–*Please note this is just a draft and all contents are still under revision.*——————————————————————————–Legal TableLegal Text Legal System/ History Sources of law are legislation, constitutional law, Islamic law and custom.Jordan was a part of the Ottoman Empire until WWI, then under indirect British rule, and attained full independence in 1947. The Ottoman legacy was influential even after the dissolution of the Empire. Jordanian legislation and the legal system are also influenced by European legal systems as well as by Egyptian and Syrian developments and reforms, particularly in personal status matters. School(s) of Fiqh Hanafi(Sunni Muslim 96%, Christian 4% [1997 est.]) Constitutional Status of Islam(ic Law) The 1952 Constitution declares Islam to be the religion of the State, and also provides for the establishment of separate civil and shari’a courts. Court System Religious Courts are divided into Shari’a Courts and tribunals of other religious communities. Shari’a Courts have jurisdiction over personal status matters relating to Muslims, as well as cases involving blood money where parties are Muslim or where one party is Muslim and the other agrees to the jurisdiction of the Shari’a Court. Appeals lie with the Shari’a Court of Appeal in Amman. Relevant Legislation Courts Establishment Law 1951Law on Shari’a Lawyers 1952Law on Structure of Shari’a Courts 1972Law of Personal Status 1976Civil Code 1976 Notable Features Marriage Age: 16 for males and 15 for females, lunar calandar; court permission required for females under 18 to marry men older by 20 years or more.Guardianship: guardian’s consent is required for marriage of a female under 18 years, but not for a divorcee or widow over 18 yearsRegistration: penal sanctions for those in violation of the mandatory registration requirements for marriage and divorcePolygamy: no constraints aside from classical injunctions that a man must treat all co-wives equitably and provide them with separate dwellings; man must declare his social status in marriage contract.Obedience/Maintenance: institution of ‘house of obedience’ is maintained in legislation, but without any forcible execution.Talaq: talaq uttered while asleep, drunk, in a faint, overwhelmed (madhush), or under coercion have no effect; oaths on talaq and conditional talaq intended to coerce someone into committing or refraining from a particular act are invalid; talaq accompanied by a number in word or gesture, or repeated in a single session, gives rise to a single revocable repudiation.Judicial Divorce: grounds on which women may seek divorce include: failure to maintain, physical desertion or husband’s absence for one year or more, husband’s prison sentence of three years or more; both spouses may petition on grounds of ‘discord and strife’, breach of a binding stipulation of the marriage contract, and various grounds associated with spouse’s mental and physical health.Post-Divorce maintenance/financial arrangements: compensation for arbitrary talaq of a maximum of one year’s maintenance; classical rules requiring former husband to pay the divorcee for breastfeeding and undertaking custody of their children are maintainedChild Custody: divorcee is entitled to custody of her children until they reach puberty, subject to classical conditions; other custodians till 9 and 11 males and females.Succession: changes to classical Hanafi law allow for spouse relict to be included in the radd of the estate; ‘obligatory bequests’ in favour of orphaned grandchildren is restricted to children of predeceased sons and not daughters


  3. Kinzi, yes it is sad and unacceptable! What can we do? Try to raise our voices in order to change the law!DM, yes indeed.Qwaider, I don’t know about al share3a, but I know that this is the law that is applied in Jordan. If the mother is Christian and the father is Muslim, she loses the custody immediatly. I am sure of that.I agree with you that some fathers can make better parents. The whole issue of custody should be addressed in a different way.


  4. FadiPlease consult a lawyer. The custody remains with the Christian mother in this case as long as she’s not married. This is what the law says. Which is derived from the Hanafi Math-hab, which states that Women are more capable of taking care of the child therefore they will have the custody, regardless of her religion. (with one exception, if she was Murtadda, but otherwise she gets the custody)The view of the Jordanian law about the custody is that it’s a right of the child (instead of the parent). So the child has the right to have the best person for the custody, as they are not the property of their parents. The Jordanian law considers the mother to be most suitable to raise the child regardless of her religion.So, consult a lawyer, I know the Jordanian law very well, and have read that specific part several times, it favors the mother. This is not an argument, opinion, a rumor, or “I heard”. This is the law. Just check with a lawyer ya zalameh! What are you going to lose? You’ve got everything to gain in fact. I’m not interested in winning an argument as much as I am interested in helping your cousin


  5. Qwaider, I am glad it is the law, but the problem is there aren’t that many ‘good lawyers’ available.I know three woman who have lost custody of children when their husband’s converted. One woman (whose husband had died but whose brother converted and claimed custody and his brother’s inheritance) eventually got to keep her children, only after the royal family got involved.When our murtad friend was ‘divorced’ by the court, his Christian wife lost custody as well.I’m glad it is the law, but is seems difficult to find a lawyer who can make it work.I’m also glad it is Jordan, as there are problems with this in Egypt and Pakistan in the news regularly.


  6. Qwaider, I am not after winning the argument either. I am sure that both women that I mentioned in my post have consulted more than one lawyer. And then you have Kinzi’s testimonial here with 3 women she knows who have lost custody over their children when their husbands converted! If it isn’t about the law, then there are something really wrong that prevent the law to be applied the right way, no?


  7. Apparently, the guys are able to win the cases in courts because somehow they proved that they were better fit to have the custody. A common lie about many women in the Arab world (including Muslim women by the way) that the evil man has somehow took the custody of their children. It’s not the case. The law is clear. And even if they went to a corrupt judge who somehow ruled against the Shariah, I am positive they could reverse the rule if they only challenged it.There are so many social lies all around us. Lies by the same people who are seeking “justice”. The Jordanian law is unjust against men when it comes to custody in 99% of the casesThis is not getting anywhere. Do you have any lawyer friends from your university days? Time to give them a call. Or check the Qanoon El A7wal.If ther eis something that is preventing the law from being implemented, it’s nothing more than “Wasta” and other forms of corruption in the society.


  8. How i see it is that those organizations are not working hard enough with the governments or the parliaments to suggest new laws or amendments on the current ones. they only depend on awareness campaigns and publications which people dont even notice!!


  9. How i see it is that those organizations are not working hard enough with the governments or the parliaments to suggest new laws or amendments on the current ones. they only depend on awareness campaigns and publications which people dont even notice!!


  10. Qwaider, I don’t think that is the case. I asked my cousin and she said that she consulted different lawyers. The mother’s right for custody drops when her husband converted to Islam. Ul, hey :), the case of my cousin, I don’t think the father was even interested in having the custody. She was just afaid he might do it for revenge. DaughterofRaa, I agree with you 🙂


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  12. The Jordanian family laws seem quite backwards, in my opinion.. My cousin who had to divorce her husband years ago, due to “various valid reasons”.. He, then, moved on, paying for only his daughter's school tuition–that's it. As soon as he turned 13, he came with the police to collect her belongings and threathened that if his wife did not write the house she lives in in his daughter's name, she would never see her again..
    -What kind of nonsense is this based on?What religion?What qualifies him to be the parent to take over raising his kid, when the reason fort their marriage not lasting was his cheating ways, not to mention a dominating bi-polar mother-inlaw..

    PS>the guys is married to another woman w/ 2 new kids (same faith).. does that make for a stable family?is that why the law is on his side?is it because the mom is not married still?


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