Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice is planning to launch an alimony fund similar to the United Kingdom’s Child Maintenance Service in an attempt to “empower mothers and provide sustainable living and support, for them and their children,” the Ministry said in a press release.
The alimony fund is dedicated to women who are divorced and facing difficulty in securing monthly expenses from their former husbands. The fund is designed to cover their expenses until a verdict can be reached as to the amount the husband should pay.
The fund will be financed by divorced husbands, who are required by law to submit payments to the fund, which are then paid to enrolled women and children. Even if the husband fails to pay on time, the fund still covers the expenses of the enrolled mothers without delays and deducts the amounts from the husbands, the Ministry said.
It is another progressive move from the Saudi government as reforms continue in high gear. Saudi Arabia has made leaps forward for women’s rights under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Last year, the Kingdom announced that it would at last allow women the right to drive, a decision that will take effect on June 24, 2018.
The press release quotes Um Ahmed, a recently separated mother of three, as saying the fund will help her land on her feet after her divorce. “I am so grateful for this fund…I am going through a divorce, with no stable source of income for me or my children. My main dispute with my husband was his lack of financial commitment towards me and my kids. This fund will force him to commit financially and will also ensure my children’s needs are met.”
“We are looking forward to see this fund up and running,” said the Ministry of Justice. “The ministry has planned well to ensure its sustainability. We researched many similar funds worldwide, such as the Child Maintenance Service in the UK, and used the experience to build a fund that is right for the country. We want to ensure the ministry can act quickly to provide practical solutions for divorced women and their children. We want to demonstrate our steadfast commitment to women in our society and move forward towards the realization of National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, which represents a better future for all our people.”