A Moroccan mother of three took legal action against her husband after he left their marital home.
Rabat – In an unprecedented decision, the Marrakech court of first instance ordered a Moroccan man to return to his wife.
A Moroccan mother of three took legal action against her husband after he left their marital home. In his absence, the man reportedly failed to fulfill his obligations to the family.
According to the Ministry of Justice’s ‘Adala Morocco’ portal, a judge in Marrakech ordered the husband to return to his wife. The judge also approved the woman’s request to fine her husband MAD 500 ($51) for each day he failed to return home.
Adala Maroc reports that the decision is the first of its kind in Morocco.
Issues related to marriage, polygamy, divorce, inheritance, and child custody fall under the Moudawana, Morocco’s family code.
The Moroccan parliament revised the Moudawana in 2004, securing several important rights for women such as the right to self-guardianship, the right to divorce, and the right to child custody.
The Moudawana now grants men and women equal rights within the family. Husbands and wives now have equivalent rights in house management, family planning, children’s upbringing, and legal cohabitation.
The family code requires the free consent of both men and women looking to enter marriage, and women no longer need permission from a male guardian to marry.
The reformed Moudawana also restricts polygamy. A husband can now only marry a second wife with approval from a judge and needs detailed documentation of their finances, signed consent from his first wife, and proof that both wives will receive equal treatment.
Additionally, the legal minimum age for marriage for both men and women is 18 years, after previously standing at 15 years for women. Special cases of marriage under that age now require permission from a judge. However, child marriage is still prevalent in Morocco, with courts approving 25,920 child marriage requests in 2019.
Despite the reforms, civil society organizations in Morocco still report disparities between the family code’s legislation and practice, and gender inequality prevails in many areas of society. In particular, women in rural areas are often not aware of the rights they are guaranteed under the Moudawana and remain subjected to patriarchal values.