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July 25th, 2006
Class of 2006
Map: Family Law in the Middle East and North Africa: Egypt

Source: CIA World Factbook 2006

Marriage Age: 18 for males and 16 for females; religious or civil courts may make exceptions to allow minors to marry. The law is not always observed, however, particularly in rural areas.

Marriage Guardianship: Normally, a woman’s “wali” (male legal guardian) must approve her marriage; however, he cannot prevent his ward from marrying for reasons of status or amount of dowry. A woman may seek judicial approval for her marriage if her “wali” refuses.

Polygamy: Polygamy is permitted. The first wife must be notified when her husband takes another spouse.

Divorce: : Since 2000, women have had the right to divorce their husbands without their consent, on grounds of incompatibility. This “khul'” law stipulates that the wife must return her “mahr” (dowry paid by a groom to his bride at the time of the marriage), and other gifts given by her husband before the divorce can be finalized. A husband may sue his wife for “ta’a” (disobedience); if he is successful, he is relieved of any financial responsibility to support his wife.

Child Custody: In the case of divorce, the mother is normally given custody of her sons until age 10 and of her daughters until age 12, at which time custody reverts to the father unless an extension is obtained.

Source: Freedom House

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