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Divorce and religious practices

Legal information that deals with divorce and religious practices.

Some faiths require followers to undergo particular religious practices so that a civil divorce that has been granted under Australian law is recognised by the particular ‘church’.

For example, in Jewish and Islamic practices a legal divorce is not recognised unless the husband agrees and a religious divorce is granted. This can leave some women in limbo—divorced under Australian law but unable to remarry according to their religion.

This problem has been examined in detail in a discussion paper produced by the Family Law Council for the Commonwealth Attorney General. The paper explores the restrictions and overlaps of civil and religious divorce practices.

See Family Law Council—Cultural-community Divorce and the Family Law Act 1975.

More information


The Constitution

  • s. 116—Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion

See The Constitution (Cth).

The VLA library has a book that may help with Islamic clients, Islamic family law (2010) by Arshad Raffia Call No KD 652 ISL

See VLA library catalogue.