Question: I am a Muslim woman who was married to a Muslim man. Eight months ago, the court ruled that I be divorced from my husband and have custody of my two children, but the amount of alimony that the court ruled is not sufficient for me. I have learned that my ex-husband has a large source of income. I did not know the source of this income during the course of the lawsuit. Is it possible for me to file a new lawsuit to demand an increase in alimony? Please advice.
Answer: As a general rule, the case to increase or decrease the alimony should be filed after one year from the date of deciding the alimony unless there are some exceptional circumstances.
Article 64 of the personal status law states:
1. Alimony may be increased or reduced according to the change of circumstances.
2. Apart from exceptional circumstances, the action in increment or reduction of the alimony may not be heard prior to the lapse of one year as of the date of deciding it.
3. The increase or decrease of alimony is computed from the date of claim in court.
So you have the right to file a case to increase the alimony and provide your reasons, taking into consideration that the court will estimate the reasons and decide if they are considered as exceptional in order to accept the case prior to the lapse of one year or not. In assessing the amount of alimony, the court takes into consideration the circumstances of the beneficiary and the economic situation, in place and time, provided it does not fall below the sufficiency level.
The law also states that the mother’s custody is forfeited for one of the reasons listed in Article 152 of the law by a violation of one of the conditions required by the Articles 143 and 144 in the custody in general, which are: the loss of reason, honesty and the ability to raise, maintain and care for the young child, or if the mother suffers from a serious infectious disease, or she is sentenced to a penalty in one of the “crimes of honour”.
Moreover, the right of women to fosterage of a child shall end upon the child reaching the age of 11 years, if a male, and 13 years, if a female, unless the court deems that extending this age to the age of maturity, for the male, and up to her marriage, for the female, is in his or her best interest. Unless the interest of the fostered child otherwise requires, the women’s fosterage shall continue in case the child is of unsound mind or suffering of a disabling illness (as per Article 156).