In an earlier post, we talked about how expats, including Filipinos, can get married in Qatar. Today, however, we will discuss a more sombre topic: how to file for divorce.
Just like in other countries, there are couples filing for divorce in Qatar, due to one reason or another. If you find yourself in this situation, keep on reading to know more about the divorce process in this country, for Muslim as well as non-Muslim expats.
An Overview of Divorce in Qatar
Both Muslim and non-Muslim expats can file for divorce in Qatar, but the applicable laws may differ. For Muslim expats, the process is governed by Qatari Family Law No. 22 of 2006. In the case of foreign laws, the law of the husband’s home country shall be applied.
If the couple agrees to divorce by mutual consent (a.k.a. an “amicable” divorce), the process is pretty much straightforward and could take four to five months. This involves an agreement between both parties, including child custody matters and financial settlements.
Legal Grounds for Divorce
Before anything else, though, let us talk about the legal grounds for divorce in Qatar. Similar to laws in other countries, adultery and abuse are considered as grounds. In addition, Family Law No. 22 of 2006 also cites abandonment and imprisonment as grounds for divorce.
Abandonment means “absence form the marital home.” If a husband has been away for more than a year, for example, the wife may file for divorce due to abandonment. If the husband fails to return within two months, the court judge may decided to grant the divorce.
In the case of imprisonment, if a husband goes to jail any time during the marriage, his wife may file for divorce, which would only be granted after one year from the imprisonment date.
Divorce Process in Qatar
Now, let’s talk about the actual procedures for divorce. First and foremost, the couple needs to decide which laws be applied — Qatari law or the law of the husband’s home country.
Secondly, the divorce could be done via mutual consent, wherein lawyers will draft an agreement (stating child custody and financial matters) that both parties will sign. This will be submitted to the court for approval, and the process could take about four to five months.
On the other hand, if the divorce is contested (the couple cannot arrive at an agreement), they will need to file a case directly with the court. At first, the judge will aim for a reconciliation between the couple. But if this doesn’t work, the person who filed the case will need to prove his/her stated grounds for divorce. Based on evidence, the final decision is up to the judge.
Once the divorce is granted, the final step is to apply for the divorce certificate. This involves the submission of all required documents to the court. After the certificate is released, this will need to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy of the couple.
Child Custody and Financial Support
If a couple decides to file for divorce in Qatar, Sharia Law will govern child custody arrangements. This means that the mother who becomes the custodian (caregiver) while the father is the guardian (provider). The mother is responsible for providing direct care to the children until they reach a certain age, while the father is responsible for financial matters.
After the marriage ends, the mother is entitled to receive financial support for three months, as well as for the duration of her custody over the children. This support includes living expenses, children’s education, and medical care.
As you can see, there are several things to consider before filing for a divorce — applicable laws, grounds, child custody, and financial matters. So before you act on this decision, make sure that you are ready and prepared for the process.
DISCLAIMER: The above guide is presented for information-sharing purposes only. To know more about the divorce process in Qatar, please visit the Qatar e-Government Portal.