Parliament accepts amendments for regulating division of assets after divorce

Parliament today accepted for consideration amendments to the Family Act submitted on behalf of the government by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed for regulating division of assets after divorce.

The bill was accepted with 41 votes in favour, four against, and sent to the Social Affairs Committee for further review.

Preliminary debate and voting on the bill took place amidst protests by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs, who have been protesting at every sitting of the People’s Majlis since the arrest and prosecution of former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges.

Continuing the protests into the seventh consecutive sitting today, MDP MPs blew on whistles and used a megaphone to call for President Abdulla Yameen’s resignation.

Parliament has ceased providing live feed to television stations since the protests began.

Equitable distribution

The amendments (Dhivehi) meanwhile state that a court would decide upon the equitable distribution of marital property in divorce cases.

The court should consider the extent of both the work done as well as expenses made individually by the husband and wife for earning the couple’s money or assets.

Moreover, the court should take into account any debts incurred during the marriage as well as the needs of any children under 18 years of age.

The revisions also state that the court could order the ex-husband to pay child support and provide financial support to his ex-wife.

In his presidential address at the opening of parliament earlier this month, President Yameen said the legislation would protect women’s rights in divorce cases as pledged during the presidential campaign.

The PPM pledged in its manifesto to ensure that women get their fair share of common property after divorce.

Meanwhile, during Monday’s sitting, parliament accepted for consideration government-sponsored legislation on establishing the ‘Maldives Islamic University.’

The bill was accepted unanimously with 55 votes in favour following a preliminary debate, during which nine MPs spoke.

The draft legislation was forwarded to the National Development Committee for further review. The committee’s chairman, Ibrahim Shujau, told the press after the sitting that the legislation would be reviewed and sent back to the floor for a vote within a week.

The PPM MP for Baarah said the bill would be passed into law by the end of the month, noting that establishing an Islamic University was an important pledge of President Abdulla Yameen.

Once ratified, the existing Islamic College or Kulliyah would be renamed the Islamic University of Maldives.

Related to this story

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Government submits three bills to parliament

The government has submitted to the People’s Majlis amendments to the Political Parties Act and the Family Act as well as legislation on establishing an Islamic University.

According to Vnews, the President’s Office proposed abolishing or amending clauses in the political parties law that the Supreme Court had ruled were unconstitutional.

Amendments proposed to the the Family Act meanwhile seek to provide temporary shelter to divorced women and their children and establish rules for equitable distribution of property in divorce cases.

The bill on creating the Maldives Islamic University outlines the powers and responsibilities of the envisioned higher education institution.


Parliament passes amendments to increase child support payments

Parliament has passed amendments to increase the amount of money for child support to MVR 2,000 (US$130) as part of the Family Regulation.

Amendments proposed to article 65 state that that a father who has more than one child must pay MVR 1,000 (US$65) per child per month as child support until the children reaches the age of 18.

According to the amendments, a father who has one child is required to pay MVR 2,000 per month until the child turns 18.

Amendments proposed to article 63 (a) also state that MVR 2,000 per month must be provided during iddah – a period of waiting undertaken by a woman after a divorce.

Previously, the Family Regulation stated that MVR 500 (US$32) should be provided to women during iddah, and MVR 250 (US$16) should be provided as child support, local media reported.

In accordance to article 55 of the Family Act, if a father does not have the financial means to support his children, the court will discuss the issue with the relatives of children in order to make them responsible for the child’s upbringing should they agree.