Unregistered marriages leave children unable to inherit, warns Family Court

The Family Court has claimed that unregistered marriages occurring in the Maldives are denying children the legal rights of those born to ‘registered’ couples.

According to Maldivian law, children born out of wedlock can face difficultly obtaining legal recognition for matters such as claiming their inheritance.

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs Mohamed Didi confirmed that children born to couples who exchange vows in unsanctioned private marriages do not have the same legal rights as children born to those who marry legally.

“It’s a serious problem,” Didi said, explaining that such children can experience problems claiming inheritance and tracing their family.

“The children cannot find their family line or claim their property,” he said.

There were “certain religious people” giving false information to others in small communities, he said, who were instructing their followers to marry “according to Islam and not Maldivian law.”

Didi noted that although these marriages could technically be recognised by Islam, “the country’s law says we have to register a marriage.”

He said the ministry is running “awareness programmes giving proper information to people,” as well as providing education through the media, information sessions at the ministry and during Friday sermons.

Didi said the ministry “has not found clues” as to why certain religious scholars are marrying people outside the law, but he thinks the only reason is “they want to have a bigger group of followers.”

The Family Court confirmed it was dealing with some cases involving private marriages, and said if the marriage was not registered at the court, it was not technically legal.

Couples receive a certificate through the court which proves they are married, she explained.

Children born to couples who are not registered will not appear under the father’s name and “will not have legal rights”, the court registrar noted.

Press Secretary for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair said the problem was all down to the “concubine business.”

According to legal procedures concerning polygamy, for a man to marry more than one woman, the first wife must give her consent for her husband to marry someone else. In this event, his finances and ‘level of commitment’ will be examined by the court.

Zuhair said some men who did not pass the requirements were getting married outside the law.

“The problem is that divorce is then also not legal, and children are unable to claim their inheritance,” he said, noting that although the marriage could be recognised under Islam, it was not recognised under Maldivian law.

Zuhair noted the greater issue behind these ‘private marriages’ was the discussion by Islamic scholars over whether State laws should stand alone from Shari’a, although “of course State law is influenced by Shari’a law.”

“The Constitution gives power to the State,” he said, “but certain Islamic scholars believe this shouldn’t be the case.”

A source who wished to remain anonymous from an island “well known for these type of illegal marriages” told Minivan News that “there is a group of people who believe the Constitution of the Maldives should not be followed because it is not based on Shari’a law.”

He said these people claimed that judges at the courts were “apostates” and that marriage under a Maldivian court could not be recognised under the tenets of Islam.

He said people who do not follow this group “would also be considered apostates.”

He said many people involved with this group were also not sending their children to school because they would have to sing the school song “as they believe singing is haraam, and also claim the school uniform is not very ‘Muslim’.”


7 thoughts on “Unregistered marriages leave children unable to inherit, warns Family Court”

  1. Laura, can you please enlighten us on the children born on Gay couples in Maldives? WHO report on Maldives showed that there are 350 gays in Male' alone and they have been abusing kids going to schools for a longtime..and apparently Dhivehiobserver (DO) have recently published an article on GAY rights by Hilath Rasheed (who have been found increasingly a strong critic of Islam and any sort of divine faith)..and interestingly DO Sappe is also Maldives Government Special Envoy for Science and tech. Please give us a report on Gay abuse ...few months back some gays hiding behind Imam post have been caught in Gay scandle! Everyday Gays are increasing in this country! Save Islam and Christainity!

  2. And how many complaints does the islamic ministry have to get before they will act on this? After all this falls right into their domain of control right, or are getting fixated on pop concerts more their thing?

  3. and these unregistered 'marriages' are used as covers for pedos. yes, there are many cases of 'legal' pedophilia in this country. the law allows this type of 'marriage pedophilia' , and does not consider it a crime. the crime would be unregistered marriages. this is what happens when certain people and their views are held above the law.

  4. Mariya seems to be afraid of gays - they are not increasing day by day - they have been living among us but have not dared to out themselves all these years because of people like you. Don't discriminate - being gay is nothing bad. Being criminal is - whether gay or straight.
    Live and let live.

  5. For a country to be called is Islamic Nation – Alims have noted 3 things to be in place.

    The valiul Amru must be an Islamic educated.
    The law of the country must be Shariya.
    People must follow Islam to its purest form.

    Maldives is just a Muslim Country by name – but Kuffar has occupied Maldivian within our legal system, the piece and harmony that we are enjoying is just temporary.

    So Allahu Akbar for the resisting brothers!

    In trust of Allah – The All powerfull.

  6. In these sort of marriages that are not recognized by law its not only the childrens inheritance that are at risk, but also the womans' right to claim for child support should the man decide to "divorce" and also her right to inherit from the "husbands" property on the event of his death.

  7. So, why are they going on with marriages unregistered?. Are they trying to hide something... like the age of the bride, or whether she consented or not?.

    Verily, this is another form of child abuse.


    And look at the stragglers trying to whitewash it.


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