Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How an expat living in Oman divorces a non-resident non-national in her home country while not living there herself---I have no idea, thanks Canada and every lawyer I met

Getting a divorce as an expat living in Oman can be tricky.

No, I am not talking about divorcing an Omani;) all my enemies and ill-wishers, that is usually easily done (I am not saying cleanly or pleasantly but it is an action of relative ease).

I am trying to divorce my ex-husband (we are no longer Islamically married right?) who I married in my home country. He is not a resident or a citizen of my home country. Like me, he lives in the GCC.

I went back there recently (the land-far-and-away), and tried to find out about how to file for divorce. As neither he nor I lives in the province where we were legally wedded, or even in the country (him being a citizen of another GCC country and me living and working here) apparently every legal expert we consulted was stumped as to how to apply for divorce or annullment although our case for divorce is clear and easy in itself.

Apparently, ONLY same sex couples are allowed to do so outside of their region/wilayat/province. Awesome. So not us. Everyone else has to reside in their region for some time (a year) before applying for a divorce.

I simply cannot do that. I have a house loan, and a family, here in Oman.

Yes, I am already re-married. Religious law and legal law are two different things in my home country, although in Oman, as I am a Muslim, religious law trumps legal law, and so my second marriage is considered valid even though I am still technically legally married to another man in my home country.

And despite my mother's usual freak-outs, no I cannot be arrested for being a bigamist in my home country because the-Land-far-and-Away does not recognize my Islamic marriage as a legal marriage.

Although it REALLY isn't important for me to get a divorce, I can live without one as I wish to, AND IT IS kind of cool, whenever someone's like, "your husband has two wives, what?!" I can so be like, "well I have two husbands so we're perfect for one another"... and annullments and divorces cost money...

...But having an Omani man for husband means you deal with stupid jealousies time to time. And if I could have my former marriage annulled or struck out by law, I would for my Omani husband's sake I guess, because he probably deserves that. Despite having two wives;).

So, if anybody who does read this blog has any miracle of an idea in law what I should do (in Canadian law) to be divorced without going back to live in Canada, please let me know and I'd be so grateful as to treat you for coffee (or my husband would if you're a man since like, he'd freak if I did).

And yes, anonymous, I know this blog title says "an every girl's guide to Oman" and this isn't really an every girl problem in Oman;)... but I can write what I want when I have nothing better to say.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried contacting an international divorce lawyer? Canada recognizes divorces (as long as they're legal) from countries you're an expat in. Are you still in contact with your ex? Maybe you can get a formal document from him declaring he divorced you, get it translated and all the necessary stamps (ministry of foreign affairs etc.), have it sent over to Oman, and then have the divorce finalized through the Canadian embassy there (basically get it notarized)? Should work, although it will be fairly tedious lol

Anonymous said...

Are you sure about your country of citizenship not recognizing the Omani marriage? why wouldn't they? It is still officially sanctioned by the Ministry of Interior here, not just by a religious authority.

So, it seems to me that you can be in some trouble, legally if not ethically (you seem not worried about the ethical part which is a bit disturbing as well - it's not a small thing to be so carefree about)

Other than this comment, I'm afraid I have no idea about the legal condition of this. There is a news story this week actually, I believe from your home country, about a man who won a claim to the house he shared with his wife over 30 years ago, because they never got officially divorced. This kind of thing may come back to hurt you years from now.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anonymous #1: My ex did not divorce me in Canada. We are only left married IN Canadian law not Islamic. His country (Saudi Arabia) never recognized the Canadian marriage. Thus the trouble of getting any official papers "notarized" outside of Canada... alas...

Anonymous: Yes I am. Canadian law does not consider my marriage in Oman to be legal IN CANADA although it is legal HERE. ;). Oman also does not recognize the precedence of my previous husband as that marriage as it remains is not Islamic and I am a Muslim so I have no hindrance HERE to remarry. However, if I did wish to make my Omani Islamic marriage legal I would have to a. divorce under Canadian law husband #1, and then b. sign some papers in Canada towards the regular documentation required to get married there. I believe I can apply to have this marriage recognized under Canadian law here if I were not already listed as married, but really haven't thought about doing that. (No need---I intend to stay in Oman).

Ethically, I don't think there is anything wrong, since well, it is just paperwork, and I suppose my ex husband could ask me to split my wealth;) but then he'd have trouble since I don't have any left there of course. If I were going back to live there one day it wouldn't really be a problem... since, well, I could file EASILY if I was living there for at least a year. But it would be a problem for my exhusband (or me) if he wanted to re-marry a European, American, other Canadian etc... instead of someone from his home country of Saudi Arabia. Under shariah law, he is not entitled to anything from me at all, so if I am in Oman, I don't think anything legally affects...

But I really wish there was a way to get it done anyways.

You have to laugh at a situation like this. It is strange is it not? All the lawyers seemed to think so. Easier to declare him dead (which would be a lie) than to get a divorce.... ugh.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

And btw, I am joking when I say it is easier to declare someone dead;). I like to be a little tongue-in-cheek when life is being, er difficult?

Please forgive if I have offended anyone by my lightness and joking.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant your ex can make a legal paper saying he divorced you Islamically, and by the Canadian embassy notarizing it, it would be considered a legal divorce in Canada as well.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anonymous: I don't think that counts to Canada since the Canadian legal marriage has to be dealt with... would be great if it could work...