A Muslim father is legally obligated to support and provide for his unmarried daughter until she weds, a Kadhi’s court has ruled in a parental responsibility dispute involving a divorced couple.
Although the Children’s Act says a parent has no legal obligation to support his/her child after the eighteenth birthday unless under special circumstances, senior principal Kadhi Abdulhalim Athman, while sitting in Isiolo, said the Islamic law extends the period of daughters’ rights to parental responsibility till marriage.
He was ruling on a case filed by a woman and her unmarried daughter seeking maintenance from the woman’s ex-husband. The woman, code named SS, sought orders compelling her ex-husband to provide for her and her children.
Married for 27 years
She had earlier asked the court to stop the man from evicting her and the children and to compel him to allow them to live with him in the matrimonial home, but later withdrew the prayers.
The unmarried daughter stated that she needed her father to continue paying for her studies at the Meru Technical College.
The couple had been married for 27 years and divorced in November 2020. At the time of the divorce, they had five children — three adults and two minors.
Denied ex-wife’s claims
The man retired last year as a driver with the Ministry of Health but is yet to receive his benefits.
In court, he denied his ex-wife’s claims and stated that he made every effort to be a good father despite mistreatment and lack of respect by her and his daughter.
He contended the children save two, are adults and should be able to fend for themselves.
Unmarried nor unemployed
However, the court told him that he has a legal responsibility under the law to protect and provide for his children including the adults, especially the daughters who are neither married nor employed.
He ordered the man to support the education of the unmarried daughter and be providing his ex-wife with a monthly stipend of Sh10,000 for accommodation and sustenance.
The Kadhi also declared that the ex-wife is entitled to conciliatory gift, ‘mata’, of at least 15 percent the value of the man’s property in Tulu Roba and that he should pay her the same upon receipt of his retirement benefits.
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