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Justice Sajjad Ali Shah of the Supreme Court on Tuesday remarked that "verbal divorce" has no legal value and a divorce is only finalised after completion of the due procedure.

"Divorce is a sensitive issue; how can it be finalised verbally?" Justice Shah asked while hearing a case at the Karachi SC registry against a woman seeking expenditure from her former husband. The husband had approached the apex court to turn down an earlier ruling ordering him to pay monthly expenditures to his ex-wife.

"Divorce can't be finalised without fulfilling legal prerequisites," said the judge upon finding out that the man had divorced his wife only verbally and did not have any documents to prove the dissolution of marriage.

The SC rejected the man's petition, saying that receiving monthly expenditure after divorce is the woman's right.

Divorce process

Senior lawyer Liaquat Ali told Dawn.com that as per Muslim family laws of the country, a husband, who wants to end the marriage contract, is bound to send a "written divorce" or Talaq Nama, bearing his and two witnesses' signatures, to his former wife. He is also bound to utter the verbal divorce in the presence of two witnesses, the lawyer said.

As per the law, the husband will also intimate the relevant union council about his decision. "According to section 7 of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961, the husband must mention the address of the woman, so the council could approach the woman and subsequently issue a certificate of divorce."

He said that the divorce takes effect after completion of iddat. Liaquat Ali said that the law is aimed at securing the rights of women.

"At least two witnesses are mandatory for divorce, according to both the law and Sharia," he said.