Alimony in the personal status system


Alimony in the Personal Status System is a right of the person being provided for, and includes: food, clothing, housing, and basic necessities according to custom and the relevant legal provisions. The principle is that everyone is responsible for their own alimony, except those exempted by the system, which are:

  1. The wife, whose alimony is on her husband even if she is wealthy.
  2. An unknown parentage child, whose alimony is the responsibility of the state if they have no money or if no one donates to support them.
  • How is alimony estimated?

The system considers the financial situation of the person being provided for and the ability of the provider in estimating alimony, based on the verse {let a man of wealth spend from his wealth} and the saying of the Prophet -peace be upon him- to Hind bint ‘Utbah: ((Take what is sufficient for you and your child with kindness)).

Alimony can be increased or decreased from the estimated alimony based on changes in the financial situation of the person being provided for and the provider. This can be done by filing a specific lawsuit in court and proceeding according to the provisions of the system and relevant regulations.

  • Types of Alimony:

It can be noted that alimony under the system is divided into two parts based on its duration:

  1. Ongoing alimony: This is alimony for future periods, deserved by the wife, children, and parents from the date of filing the claim to demand it. It is considered a priority debt that takes precedence over all other debts. The court may, when necessary, during its consideration, grant a temporary alimony to the entitled party based on their request without the presence of the other party.
  2. Past alimony: This is alimony for past periods before the claim was filed, without the privileges of ongoing alimony. It is subject to the same rules as other debts and cannot be claimed after a period exceeding two years from its occurrence.
  • Importance of Wife’s Alimony:

Out of care for the wife and respect for her position, the system has allocated some rights to her that are not available to others, including:

Firstly: If there are multiple recipients entitled to alimony and the provider cannot afford to support them all, the wife’s alimony takes precedence in this case, followed by the children, then the parents, and then relatives: the closest first.

Secondly: The wife’s right to alimony does not expire except through payment or release.

  • What are the conditions for obligatory alimony?


Alimony is obligatory under certain conditions, and these conditions vary depending on the person being provided for:

  1. Alimony is obligatory on the husband for his wife, with two conditions:
  • There must be a valid marriage contract between them.
  • He must be able to provide for her either practically or legally.
  1. The father is obliged to provide for his son – until he reaches an age where he can earn for himself, and for the daughter until she gets married – with two conditions:
  • The child must have no money of their own.
  • The father must be financially capable or able to earn.
  1. Children are obliged to provide for their parents, with two conditions:
  • The father must not be financially capable, even if he can earn.
  • The child must be financially capable.
  1. Each person entitled to alimony is entitled to it from their heirs according to their share in the inheritance, with two conditions:
  • The person being provided for must not be able to earn.
  • The provider must be financially capable.
  • Instances of reclaiming alimony from the obligated:

If a person evades their responsibility for alimony and someone else provides for the person in need, the system mentions that the provider can reclaim the alimony from the obligated party – under certain conditions – as stated in Article 59, which specifies that “if the father is unable to provide or absent and has no means to provide for the child, the mother will provide for the child if she is capable, and if she is not, the person obligated to provide for the child in the absence of the father will bear the debt, which he can reclaim from the father if he intended to reclaim it when providing.” The system also states in Article 63 that if a child provides for their parents or one of them, they can reclaim from their siblings – in excess of their share – under the condition that they intended to reclaim from them.

Article 66 also states that if a relative provides for someone who is not obligated to provide for them with the intention of reclaiming, they can indeed reclaim from them.

  • Statute of Limitations (Prescription):

The system mentions several cases in which a claim for alimony is not heard due to the statute of limitations. The purpose of this is to protect the obligated parties from old accusations that would be difficult for them to prove or defend against after a certain period of time, such as:

Firstly: A claim for a wife’s alimony for a period exceeding (2 years) from the date of filing the claim is not heard, except in the case mentioned in Article 92 of the system, which is when a husband divorces his wife and then reconciles without documenting the reconciliation, and the wife is unaware of it. In this case, she can claim alimony for the previous period even if it exceeds two years.

Secondly: A claim for reclaiming alimony for a period exceeding (1 year) prior to the date of filing the claim is not heard.

Thirdly: A claim for a child to reclaim from their siblings if they provided for their father for a period exceeding (180) days from the date of filing the claim is not heard.

Fourthly: If someone provides for a relative who is not obligated to provide for them, a claim for reclaiming alimony for a period exceeding (180) days from the date of filing the claim is not heard.

There is a special case where the statute of limitations is a condition for hearing the claim, and that is in a claim for an increase in alimony, as stated in the system:

A claim for an increase or decrease in alimony is not heard until (1 year) has passed from the date of the alimony judgment, except in exceptional circumstances determined by the court.

  • Special Cases for Wife’s Alimony:

As one of the most important aspects of alimony is the wife’s alimony, which varies based on her situation, the alimony for a divorced woman differs from that of a deceased husband and from that of a pregnant woman. The system clarifies all those cases and the related provisions, as follows:

  1. An abused woman due to retroactive divorce: she is entitled to alimony until the end of her waiting period.
  2. A pregnant abused woman: she is not entitled to alimony unless she is pregnant, in which case she is entitled to alimony until she gives birth.
  3. An abused woman due to the death of her husband: she is not entitled to alimony unless she is pregnant, in which case her alimony is provided from the pregnancy fund until she gives birth. If there is no money, the alimony is the responsibility of the pregnancy’s heirs, and she has the right to reside in the marital home during the waiting period.
  4. A rebellious wife (one who has prevented herself from her husband, refused to move to the marital home, or travel with the husband without a valid excuse): she is not entitled to alimony, and her right to alimony is forfeited.
  • Residence Provisions:

Just as the system has decided that alimony includes housing, it has also detailed the residence provisions between spouses. It is noteworthy that the system respects the conditions agreed upon between the spouses, as what they have agreed upon in the marriage contract is binding for them. For example, if they agreed that the husband would live with her in a separate residence, he cannot live with her family, for the marital contract is the law of the contracting parties.

The system also considers the objectives of Islamic law in preventing harm and eliminating it. For example, if the wife suffers harm from living with the husband’s family and children from another marriage, the court may require him to provide her with a separate residence in this case, even if it was not stipulated in the marriage contract. The system elaborates on these provisions in Articles 56 and 57, as follows:

Firstly: The wife shall live with her husband in a suitable marital residence, unless otherwise stipulated in the marriage contract.

Secondly: The husband may live with his wife in the marital home, his parents’ home, and children from another marriage when he is responsible for their upkeep, provided that the wife is not harmed by this.

Thirdly: The wife may live with her children from another father if they have no one else to care for them or if they would be harmed by her absence, or if the husband agrees to this explicitly or implicitly. The husband has the right to retract if he suffers harm from this.

Fourthly: If the spouses jointly own the marital home, rent it, or provide it, neither of them can allow anyone else to live with them without the other party’s consent.

  • Provisions for Child Alimony:

The system mentions two special cases for child alimony:

The first case: the alimony for a child who lost their father due to death or other reasons, or if the father is financially incapable. In this case, their alimony is the responsibility of their wealthy relatives according to their share in the inheritance.

The second case: the alimony for an infant. The father is obliged to pay for their nursing expenses for two years if the mother is unable to nurse them or is no longer the husband’s wife.


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