Marriage, Divorce, and Custody of Children in Jordan

Marriage in Jordan

Anyone who wants to get married in Jordan must do so by following Jordanian law. There are no civil marriages in Jordan, and all marriages must be made under the accepted religious tradition. Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women, but Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men.

When marrying under the Islamic tradition, the wedding must be done by a sheik under the rules of the Shariah Court. If you are getting married according to Christian rites, the marriage must take place after the Ecclesiastical court. anyone who wants to get married in Jordan should contact a Jordan religionist about the latest requirements.


Proof of eligibility for marriage

Jordanian authorities may ask U.S. citizens marrying in Jordan to prove their marital status at the embassy. The Embassy cannot provide such a document because the US Government does not hold a centralized record of marriages and divorces. The embassy can send a letter mentioning that it does not provide any proof of eligibility for marriage, which can be given to the marriage official.


Polygamy/Multiple Marriages

Multiple marriages or polygamy is legal for Islamic men under Jordanian law. The embassy in Jordan cannot prevent a Muslim man from marrying a second, third or fourth wife or divorcing such marriages. Such marriages are legal in Jordan, although they are not recognized by the US government and are not valid for immigration benefits.


Immigration based on marriage

Citizens are aware that it is illegal to enter into marriage contracts solely to promote foreign immigration and that both citizens and foreigners may be subject to severe penalties such as fines and imprisonment.


Divorce in Jordan

Filing for a divorce case in Jordan requires legal proceedings, in which the woman will eventually get a divorce and receive her financial rights. There are two ways for filing a divorce case, they are:

  1. The first option: A woman can file for divorce if she does not want to continue the marriage, and as a result, she will be deprived of the rights agreed upon in the marriage certificate and will be given back what she received from the marriage contract.

(The approximate time to confirm a divorce and obtain a divorce certificate with this option is 3 to 5 months.)

In this case, she is not required to come to Jordan to attend the court session. Also, she does not need witnesses.

  1. The second option is to file for divorce based on disputes between the husband and wife. As a result, she asks for the rights recognized in the marriage contract.

(The approximate time to complete a divorce and obtain a divorce certificate with this option is 6 to 12 months.)

In this case, you may be required to come to Jordan to attend the court session. She may need witnesses to prove the quarrel between her and her husband.


Monthly expenses

The monthly expenses for the children are given according to the financial situation of the husband and also the wife can claim for her monthly expenses during the litigation period till the wife got a final divorce.


Child Custody Law and Procedure in Jordan

The law governing the custody of children and guardianship of Muslim children is Sharia law, as organized in Jordanian law, principally the Personal Status Law. Decisions regarding child protection are made primarily based on the gender of the parents, and the rules are based on the observance of the parent’s religious obligations, customs, and other factors.

Jordanian law essentially distinguishes between “Hadhana” and “Wilaya”, which refers to the physical care of children, and the legal authority over the children respectively. Hadana in English can be called “custody”, but it is a much broader term. Hadana is similar to “residential custody” and is often referred to as “babysitting”. “Wilaya” in English is called “guardianship”, but that too is not accurate. “Waliya” is very similar to “legal custody” of the children.

The Personal Status Law stipulates that the residential custody (Hadhana) of children must be with the mother until they reach the age of 15 (Article 170, 173) and if the child’s mother is ineligible, “Hadhana” will passes to the child’s maternal or paternal grandmother or otherwise to the father of the child.

Decisions regarding the education, country, place of residence, medical care, religious upbringing, passport acquisition, and international travel of the children is made solely by the “Wali”, the person with the right of “Wilaya”. According to Article 223 of the Personal Status Law, the “Wali” should be the father of the child. After the father, the next is any person nominated by the father, then the grandfather, then the person nominated by the grandfather, and the court or the person the court deems appropriate. If the father acts in violation of the child’s interests, the automatic grant of “Wilaya” to the father of the child will not be canceled.

If the religious and moral upbringing of the child is not effectively guaranteed, or if she becomes an apostate or remarries (with very limited exceptions), the mother’s right to “Hadhana” should be revoked. (Articles 171-172). So, for example, if she lives with a non-Muslim or has a close relationship with a man outside of marriage, it will prohibit her from such residential custody.

It should be emphasized that in divorce and child custody disputes, even if the husband is cruel or unfaithful, Jordanian society considers maintaining the marriage as the primary responsibility of the wife.

Under Jordanian law, any underage man can prevent his minor children from leaving Jordan with the Jordanian authorities. Adults can impose a travel ban on their spouses by an order from a Jordanian court. Uncles, brothers, and grandfathers of unmarried female adult relatives can also apply to the courts of Jordan for travel restrictions on their unmarried female adult relatives. Immigration officers can prevent minor children from traveling along with their mothers leaving Jordan without the permission of their father. This is possible even if the child or mother is a citizen of the United States. A travel ban can only be removed by the person who installed it or by the court.

Jordanian courts can grant a parent the right to visit, but it is very difficult to secure the right to an international visit despite the opposition of other parents. In some cases, the court may allow a visit abroad only if the child is not returned in time and the next of kin of the adoptive parent submits for detention in prison.

In Jordan, foreign custody orders cannot be enforced if they are deemed inconsistent with civil law or other local laws and customs. If you need to know more about family laws and legal procedures get in touch with Fotis International law firm.