PROTECTING A WIFE FINANCIALLY AT THE TIME OF DIVORCE – A COMPARISON BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN MARRIED IN TERMS OF SOUTH AFRICAN CIVIL LAW AND ISLAMIC LAW, WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO THE MAHR
Keywords:financial protective measures, marriage and divorce, civil antenuptial, Muslim marriage contracts, dual marriages, mahr
This article compares the South African civil-law and Islamic-law positions with regard to the financial protective measures available to a wife at the time of marriage and divorce. In this regard, the respective matrimonial property systems are discussed, with special emphasis on civil antenuptial and Muslim marriage contracts. In addition, other protective measures inherent to the two systems to prevent prejudice both during the marriage and at the time of divorce, are discussed. It is submitted that, although the provisions of Islamic law do not provide the same financial protection for wives compared to the South African civil law, the Islamic concept of mahr could potentially be used in the Muslim marriage contract to enhance financial security of a Muslim wife at the time of divorce. The article also considers dual marriages where the same spouses marry each other in terms of both civil and Islamic law. In particular, the incorporation of the Islamic concept of mahr into civil antenuptial contracts is discussed with reference to the legal position in Canada to illustrate potential legal problems.
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