New Family Law Affirms Women's Rights and Concerns in Morocco: A New Family Law Extending Support for Women's Rights Was Recently Adapted in Morocco

Women in Action, December 2003 | Go to article overview

New Family Law Affirms Women's Rights and Concerns in Morocco: A New Family Law Extending Support for Women's Rights Was Recently Adapted in Morocco


The new law is seen as a landmark improvement that will guarantee women's rights, especially when it comes to divorce. Under the new law, the right to divorce is now a prerogative of both men and women, exercised under judicial supervision, and a principle of divorce by mutual consent is established.

The Moudawana--Morocco's Civil Status Code--encompasses the family law governing women's status. Revisions in the family law likewise include new provisions on polygamy. In particular, polygamy is now subject to a judge's authorisation and to stringent legal conditions, making the practice nearly impossible. In a predominantly Muslim country, this issue is important since polygamy has been normally practised in Islamic nations. Now, the woman also has the right to impose a condition in the marriage contract that will require her husband to refrain from taking other wives. If there is no pre-established condition, the first wife must be informed of her husband's intent to remarry, and the second wife must be informed that her husband-to-be is already married. The first wife can also ask for a divorce if there is undue harm suffered because of her husband's remarrying. In relation to this, the woman is also given the option of retaining custody of her child even upon remarrying or moving out of the area where her husband lives.

Under the new law, husband and wife now share joint responsibility in raising the family, and the wife is no longer legally obliged to obey her husband. Rather than be guarded by a male family member, an adult woman is now allowed self-guardianship, a right she may exercise freely and independently. …

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New Family Law Affirms Women's Rights and Concerns in Morocco: A New Family Law Extending Support for Women's Rights Was Recently Adapted in Morocco
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