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Divorce Settlement

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Question:

Asalaamu Alaykum

Please could you assist me with advice? 

My ex-husband is not sticking to any settlement agreement and has been bad mouthing me to my children for the years that we have been divorced. He pays small amounts and at such irregular intervals that there is no way that I can even rely on him assisting with any of the needs of my children. These two things have really got my defences up and more seriously, is spoiling my Imaan.

He chops and changes any agreement we try and put in place and my children have distanced themselves from me, to a point where my ex's wife tells me that my children are complaining about me! Although the complaints about me are always petty or outright lies, and my children know that their father does not prioritize their needs, they still continue to 'jump to his every tune'. They are hurting me... I say bad things about him all the time these days and I tell my children that they are just using me. 

I'm remarried, and Shukr, since my husband has spoken to my ex, the verbal abuse has stopped. My children beg me not to take him to court (upon seeking valid legal advice, I was told that the maintenance court would just sell off his assets and give me everything!) I am very hesitant, because this is not the way of a Muslim, surely???

On the other hand, by trying to create some order to the chaos of my life, and more importantly, the lives of my daughters, I'm losing my temper and saying all the wrong things - Astagfirullah.

I breakdown and cry all the time and although my doctor has prescribed me with anti depressants, I don't take them. They make me sleepy.

I've told my children that if they are so tired of me fighting, they should get an agreement in place with their dad by themselves...that was 2 weeks ago. He is giving them the royal run around and they are still making excuse after excuse for him. They don't want to live with him because they fear that he will not allow them to practice their Deen freely. 

I heard from 2 reliable people (although not very Deeni conscious - no judging!) about 6 months ago that he was in a Casino. I did not tell anybody (neither my husband nor my children) but if my children never went to visit him again, it would be beneficial for them in my opinion.

What is the best recourse?

Answer:

Bismihi Ta’ala 

Respected Sister in Islam

Wa’alaikumus Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh 

There are two aspects that you have raised, the divorce settlement and the issue of your children. 

1. As for the divorce settlement, if this includes any claim for maintenance for yourself then you should take note that you are only entitled to take what really belonged to you. After the iddat period the husband is not responsible for maintenance. Therefore it is impermissible to make any demands for maintenance after the iddat, or to demand any other "settlement". In this regard be content with what Allah Ta’ala has provided for you. insha-Allah there will be great barakah in this. By abandoning any impermissible demands, you will insha-Allah find great relief within yourself. However, the father is responsible for the maintenance of his children. If they also spend time with him, they could ask him to pay the various expenses and acquire the main needs (clothing, etc) while they are with him. A smaller amount will then be required for the time they are in your custody. However, this is something to resolve by mutual agreement. You could approach some Ulama body to intervene if any amicable agreement is not reached in this regard. 

2. The second issue pertains to your children. Change your entire stance with them. Do not talk a single word to them against their father. Talking against their father will not help you or them. It may just make them more bitter towards you. Talk to them in an endearing way, give them some light advice, praise them for any good they do - especially if it is some aspect related to ibadat or good character, etc. Give them du’aas. In a very kind and compassionate way encourage them to start ta’lim of the Fazaail Kitaabs (of Shaikhul Hadith Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya [rahimahullah]) at home. They may not immediately respond positively to your kind approach. It takes a while for the effect to become noticeable. Nevertheless you continue with this new approach only for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. In a short time you will insha-Allah see the difference. It will bring peace to you and the improved relationship with your children will make it easier for you to guide them in Deen.

While in a very good way you must advise them not to get involved in anything that is against Deen, you MUST also advise them to always be respectful and obedient to their father in permissible things. As difficult as this may seem to you, to tell your children to respect their father, still go ahead and in a nice way time and again emphasise it upon them. The benefits of this and the barakah that flows from this manner of dealing with the situation, will soon become evident. 

May Allah Ta’ala remove all the difficulties with ease and grant you and your family the best of this world and the next, Aameen. 

Uswatul Muslimah Panel of Ulama