Divorce and rights of children

Q156 :I have two children, aged 6 & 1, but I am not happy with my wife due to differences of social background. I intend to marry a woman from my own small town. If my present wife asks for divorce I will grant her that, but I would like to know what are my obligations toward her and my children.

A156 : What you must do if you divorce your wife is to keep her in your home during her waiting period, when you continue to be responsible for her maintenance. During this period you can reinstate your marriage without a need for a new marriage contract or a dower, although you need to have two witnesses. If this period lapses and you have not reconciled, the divorce becomes final. Your wife will be entitled to receive any outstanding portion of her dower, as well as mit'ah which is a gift that you give her. The amount of this gift is determined by the husband in accordance with his means. As for your children, your responsibility does not change toward them on account of your divorce. You remain responsible for their upbringing, maintenance and education, even though they continue to live with their mother. A child of a broken family may choose to stay with the mother after such a choice is given. The father remains responsible for the living expenses, upbringing and education [of the child]. When the woman's waiting period is over, the man is no longer responsible for her maintenance. Her own family should look after her.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )