Saudi Arabia Sets Law to Curb Child Marriages

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Saudi Arabia Sets Law to Curb Child Marriages
Mon 30-12-2013

Saudi Law set minimum adult age at 18 years and require court order for marriages below that age.

Saudi Arabia has drafted a law to prevent child marriages following a surge in such cases in the conservative Muslim Gulf kingdom and criticism by local and foreign human rights groups, a newspaper has reported.

The draft law is to be debated shortly by Shura, the country’s appointed parliament, and it sets the minimum adult age at 18 years.

"This means fathers will not be allowed to force their daughters to marry if they are below that age without a court order," the London-based Arabic language daily Al Hayat said, quoting what it described as reliable sources.

The paper said the new law would also give more rights to women and would authorize a married woman to seek a divorce if her husband has a 2nd wife.

The bride’s father can decided on marriage but has to obtain court consent if she is below 18 years old and must present a medical report showing his daughter is eligible for marriage physically and psychologically. The report must state that marriage does not endanger the girl’s mental and physical health.