Saudi men can no longer divorce wives without informing them, court rules

Saudi women have only just been allowed to get behind the wheel. Image AAP

The new measure was approved by the country's justice ministry on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reports citing local media.

Courts in Saudi Arabia will have to send women a text message if they are being divorced, in another change to the country's conservative social practices. In the new system, women in the Kingdom will be able to have access to documents related to termination of their marriage contracts through the ministry's e-portal, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

According to Saudi daily Okaz, the message will not include the word "divorce" to alleviate possible shocks for wives who did not expect such a move by their husbands against them, especially that women do not have to be present as the divorce is pronounced.

This comes after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "lifted" the ban on women driving a year ago.

In such an instance, a woman filed a legal case against her former husband who divorced her without telling her, but continued to have relations with her, which amounted to a sinful situation.

The kingdom has also allowed women to enter sports stadiums, previously a male-only arena, and is pushing for greater participation of women in the workforce as it seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

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'The new measure ensures women get their [alimony] rights when they're divorced, ' Saudi lawyer Nisreen al-Ghamdi told Bloomberg.

The reforms have included women being given the right to drive.

Young women wearing the traditional abaya walk past a sign as they help to organize an outdoor educational driving event for women on June 21, 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

However, he's also overseen waves of brutal crackdowns on dissent, with targets including everyone from fellow royals and feminist activists to journalist in self-imposed exile Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered a year ago by Saudi agents at the nation's consulate in Turkey.

"The male guardianship system is a core issue and it must be dismantled".

However, women still remain subject to male guardianship laws. "This system strangles Saudi women", said Abu-Dayyeh.

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