Visitation Rights for a Father

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Q: Your advice is required as to the rights of a father after talaaq in terms of access to his minor children. The ex-wife requested talaaq and was granted to her. Since then she has refused access of the two minor children (girls aged 5 and 2 years) citing the father's alleged adultery as the reason. There was no adultery and no concrete proof to substantiate her accusations. She has allowed only 1 visit in September since the talaaq took place in August. She has allowed some telephonic contact but for 3 weeks now even that is denied. The man has since re-married. What can he do in order to be reconciled with his children? The Ulama do not want to approach her on this matter.

A: Though the wife has the right to custody of boys up to 7 years of age and girls up to 9 years of age, but she has no right to deprive the father of visitation and access. One telephonic conversation in three weeks is not acceptable.

The father, if he is supporting the children on a regular and fair basis, enjoys the right to see his kids at any time with prior arrangement (barring very late hours at night or very early in the morning).

Since you state that the even the local Ulama do not want to speak to her, you have an option of going to court to seek visitation rights. But I would suggest that before going to such a drastic level, explore further avenues in this regard.

For example, write a letter to your ex-wife telling her that is if she is not going to concede visitation, then you will be forced to go to court for your rights. Suggest to her that if she does not want a court battle, she should submit to the ruling of the local Ulama. Maybe this might jolt her into acceding to your request.

Mufti Siraj Desai