Your Legal Advisor
Dear readers, this week Your legal advisor is Ishrat Hasan, Advocate, The Supreme Court of Bangladesh. She is Managing partner of the renowned law firm namely, 'The Law Consultant', Eastern Mansion, 67/9 Pioneer Road, Kakrail, Dhaka, which professionally deals mainly with corporate law, cyber Law, commercial law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. She can be reached at - cell: 01521515654 e-mail: email@example.com
Query I am a Muslim male. I married a divorced woman 3 months ago. When I married her it was the 31st day that her marriage was dissolved with her 1st Husband. Later two weeks ago she sent me a letter where I found that she had given me a divorce by a notary public and planning to file a suit against me for her unpaid dower money and maintenance. The dower money of our marriage was fixed at 13 lac taka of which one lac taka was shown to be paid. I tried to contact her so that we can mediate the matter but she is teeth bound to dissolve our marriage. Please give me your valuable opinion.
Thank you so much for your query. Divorce in Bangladesh has now become a common issue. Many of us are exercising our divorce giving power without knowing the unwanted consequences. You did not mention the exact date when you married your wife. You are worried about the divorce as the dower money is huge and you don't really want the dissolution. Before discussing the marriage let's test the validity of the same. As you have mentioned that she married you on the 31st day of her giving divorce to her husband, it is clear that she did not observe the 90-day period which would be triggered immaturely after sending the notice to her previous husband and the local chairman. That means she did not comply with the provision of Section 7(1) of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 where it has been clearly stated that - - who wishes to divorce his/her wife/husband shall, as soon as may be after the pronouncement of talaq in any form whatsoever, give the Chairman notice in writing of his/her having done so, and shall supply a copy thereof to the wife/husband. This provision is mandatory, disobedience of which attracts punishment under Section 7(2) of the said ordinance - which is imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to ten thousand takas or with both. She also violated the provision of Section - 7(3), this Section made it mandatory to observe 90-day period from the date of sending such notice otherwise such talaq shall not be effective. So it is clear that your wife's divorce from her 1st husband was not effective. Therefore the marriage was still subsisting between your wife and her 1st Husband and no husband or wife can enter into a second marriage during the subsistence of a marriage without the permission of the arbitration council headed by the local chairman. if any party does so he or she shall be punished under Section 6(5)(b) with one year, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand takas or with both. As the divorce was not effective it shall be deemed that she continued to be the wife of her 1sthusband and a Muslim woman can't have two husbands at the same time. In a famous case, namely Sayed Ali NewazGardezi vs. Lt. Col. Md Yusuf 15 DLR (SC) 9 The court held that -
Unless the provisions of Section 7(1) of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance are complied with regarding service of notice to the chairman of union council a talaq would fail to operate. Therefore such talaq cannot free a woman to marry a man, the provisions of Section 7(1) standing on the way.
So as the divorce was not effective between your wife and her 1st husband the marital tie between them did not dissolve and in the event of subsistence of existing marriage, your wife cannot enter into second marriage. As such the marriage between you and your wife has no validity in the eye of law and therefore she cannot claim any dower money from the marriage. I hope the above advice meets your query.