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Maldives Divorce & Family Law

International Divorce & Family Law: The Maldives

We are specialist international divorce and family lawyers. We advise clients who are either UK-based but originate from the Maldives or who were married in the Maldives. We also act for people who need family law advice and who have some other link to the country. The approaches of the family courts in the Maldives and the UK differ widely. Here we outline some key aspects of family law in the Maldives.


Divorce In The Maldives

Constitutionally the Maldives is an Islamic republic. The legal system, including the family courts is based on the principles of Islam. Indeed the constitution states that no law contrary to Islam may be applied.

Family law is codified and reflects to a large extent Shari’ah law. However the approach to divorce and other aspects of family law, including child arrangements is evolving gradually to meet the demands of a more modern society – while still adhering to the principle tenets of Islam.

The Maldives is regularly listed as the country with the highest divorce rate in the world. Various reasons have been put forward for this, including the lack of strict court procedures similar to those in Western jurisdictions and the lack of clarity around property division in divorce.

Another reason given is the ease with which husbands can divorce their wives. Although in recent years the Maldive government has tried to control the divorce rate with financial sanctions for husbands who divorce their wives without going to court and for those who wish to marry more than one person (polygamy is permissible in the Maldives).

Wives can seek a divorce where the husband:

  • Acts in a way that demeans the sanctity of the wife.
  • Treats the wife with cruelty
  • Forces the wife to perform a prohibited act
  • Refrains from conjugal relations for more than four months


Children Arrangements In The Maldives

The law recognises two separate principles of custody and legal guardianship. Custody relates to nurturing and raising a child and usually rests with the mother.  Guardianship on the other hand is about who has authority and supervision rights over the child and is normally granted to the father.


Advice On Maldives Divorce

It’s clear that the law on divorce and related matters in the Maldives is very different from the procedures in and approaches taken by judges in England and Wales. If you or your spouse have a connection to the Maldives and need advice on how to divorce Brookman can offer experienced and practical advice.

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