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What is a Talaq divorce and is it recognised in the UK?

View profile for Layla Babadi
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A Talaq divorce is, under traditional Islamic Law, said to have taken place when the husband pronounces ‘I divorce thee’ three times.  After the pronouncement the marriage is dissolved instantly.

However, for a Talaq divorce to be recognised in certain countries (Bangladesh and Pakistan (with the exception of Azad Kashmir)) there are a few other conditions than need to be met.  These are set out under the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961 (MFLO).

  • The husband must give notice in writing of the pronouncement of the Talaq to the Chairman of the Union of Council of the Ward and;
  • The husband must also give a copy of the notice to his wife.

At the end of a 90-day period, (or at the end of the wife’s pregnancy if she is pregnant at the time) the Talaq divorce will take effect. 

How does the UK recognise a Talaq divorce?

A Talaq divorce is only considered to have been obtained by means of proceedings as defined by UK Acts if it has been enacted under the MLFO.

If a full Talaq divorce takes place in Bangladesh or Pakistan it will be recognised in the UK if the procedures under the NLFO have been complied with and:

  • The husband or the wife is a Bangladeshi or Pakistani citizen and;
  • Her or she is habitually resident in Bangladesh or Pakistan or;
  • He or she is domiciled in Bangladesh or Pakistan.

Do the MLFO procedures apply to Azad Kashmir?

The MLFO procedures have not been formally extended to Azad Kashmir.  The only form of divorce which is recognised in Azmad Kashmir is the traditional bare form.  If a bare Talaq divorce takes place in Azmad Kashmir it will be recognised in the UK only if:

  • The husband and wife are both domiciled in Azmad Kashmir and;
  • Neither partner has been habitually resident in the UK in the year immediately preceding the pronouncement of the divorce.

Are bare Talaq divorces from Bangladesh or Pakistan recognised in the UK?

If a bare talaq divorce takes place in Pakistan (Excluding Azad Kashmir) or Bangladesh it will not be recognised in the UK.

If a husband pronounces Talaq divorce in the UK alone, the divorce will not be recognised.

Where a husband pronounces a Talaq divorce in the UK then notifies his wife and the Union Council Chairman in Pakistan or Bangladesh, the divorce will not be recognised.

The UK courts have decided that overseas divorce is capable of recognition in the UK only if the divorce has been instituted and obtained in the same country outside the UK.

Talaq divorce can be a complex matter and our experts in this field have considerable experience of identifying the rules that apply in each individual case.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with our family law team who will be happy to help.