Wives to be notified of divorce by text message in Saudi Arabia

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Women in Saudi Arabia will be informed by text message that their marriages have ended under a new regulation aimed at ending the practice of secret divorce, whereby men in the kingdom could unilaterally decide to separate without informing their wives.

Under the new rule issued by the Ministry of Justice, women will now be notified by text message of any change of marital status. You may also view all documents about a termination of their marriage on the website of the Ministry.

The measure would ensure that women could demand their right to maintenance, if you are divorced, said the Saudi-Arabian lawyer Nisreen al-Ghamdi as, the BBC reported.

"This order isn't ideal and in no way does it mean that Saudi women were granted their full rights when it comes to divorce but it's a step forward".

The directive would ensure women are fully aware of their marital status and can protect rights such as alimony.

Women in the kingdom have gained more rights since H H Mohammed Bin-Salman took power two years ago.

But he said knowing about a divorce does not mean a woman will get alimony or custody of her children.

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"The male guardianship system is a core issue and it must be dismantled", said Abu-Dayyeh.

What can Saudi women still not do?

Under the guardianship system, women of any age can not marry without the consent of their male guardian.

Last September, Saudi King Salman decreed an end to the world's only ban on women drivers, maintained for decades by Saudi Arabia's deeply conservative Muslim establishment.

Women still require male permission to renew their passports and leave the country.

Ultraconservative Saudi Arabia is striving to craft a new image - but a number of policies remain unchanged, leaving male relatives in charge of decisions that determine women's lives.