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Islamic Divorce in North AmericaA Shari’a Path in a Secular Society$
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Julie Macfarlane

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199753918

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753918.001.0001

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The Consequences of Divorce

The Consequences of Divorce

(p.177) 7 The Consequences of Divorce
Islamic Divorce in North America

Julie Macfarlane

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the social, spiritual, legal and financial outcomes of divorce for Muslim men and women. There is consensus that women suffer the most negative social consequences. In some cases they are shunned, at least temporarily, by their families and communities. Most respondents reported that they found no tension between their faith and their decision to divorce, with the majority reporting that this personal crisis strengthened their faith and brought them closer to God. A few found that extremely negative family and social reactions to their divorce turned them away from Islam. Financial and legal outcomes for respondents (broken down between shorter, mid-length and longer marriages) were similar to those adjudicated in a common law system. Many respondents combined some Islamic principles —for example, payment of the mahr—with North American legal principles such as the payment of spousal support and joint custody. Many respondents ended up with some aspect of their divorce outcome determined by a court, because they were otherwise unable to resolve a particular dispute. A small group rejected any common law outcomes to which they would not have been entitled in Islam.

Keywords:   social consequences, spiritual consequences, faith, gender, financial consequences, legal consequences, Mahr, spousal support, child support, custody

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