Expatriate Women Struggle In Divorce

by Admin on May 8, 2014

Many expat women struggle for their rights given the different legal framework in their new country. Women who spoke to Saudi Gazette reported cases of physical and emotional torture and said they lack support and the right to get a legal divorce and khula in Saudi Arabia. Samia Khalid, mother of two, said when a wife initiates divorce and is denied, she has to resort to khula where she has to prove her husband’s guilt or incompetent in court.

When I tried to get a khula in 2005, my husband would not show up in the court. Officials kept telling me to try harder and that I should respect my marriage and my kids by staying in it. So, unless I had proof that my husband was an alcoholic, drug addict, a rapist or someone who had AIDS, I knew I was not getting anywhere. I never did. He threatened me and my family back home and that he would keep our child under his custody. It’s been ten years now. And I still live with him, crippled by emotions, his threats and the hardships law imposes on someone like me who has no ‘wasta’ and no money.

Other jurisdictions that have significant expatriate populations include China, Thailand, Japan and Costa Rica.  The Thailand legal system is likely the most flexible in addressing concerns of expatriates according to Thailand attorney Benjamas Chaiwong of the law firm Chaninat and Leeds.  Pursuant to Thailand divorce law if you are an expatriate living  in Thailand, a Thai lawyer may be  file a divorce claim or other legal action on your behalf provided that jurisdictional and other legal requirements are met.

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