Unregistered expat marriage contracts pose problems for children later on

Unregistered expat marriage contracts pose problems for children later on
Updated 11 October 2015
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Unregistered expat marriage contracts pose problems for children later on

Unregistered expat marriage contracts pose problems for children later on

JEDDAH: Some Asian expatriates marry in the Kingdom have their marriage contracts drawn by unregistered people. This violates the laws of the Kingdom and has a negative impact on their children.
Expatriate workers with low salaries, especially taxi drivers, prefer this kind of marriage. Most of them look for divorced or single housemaids or female workers in beauty salons. Undocumented marriage contracts help expatriate men to be free and live with their wives without restrictions.
Those who create undocumented marriage contracts are not authorized by government to conduct these procedures. However, they provide these services for money. Many expatriate women, of Asian descent, agree to get married this way to share living costs in the Kingdom.
Arab News spoke to an expatriate worker in Jeddah offering undocumented marriage contracts to men and women. The worker, who would not be identified, believes that he helps men and women to marry within the legal laws of Islam.
“There is no need to document marriage contracts in courts. The most essential rules of marriage include two male witnesses and the personal documents of the man and woman who wish to get married. This kind of marriage helps people to get married with low costs,” he said.
However, the worst result of undocumented marriages is that children cannot receive official documents, especially a residence permit, and cannot be registered in schools as they are unrecognized by Saudi government agencies.
Mohammed Al-Nujaim, a professor at the Superior Institute of Justice, said this kind of marriage is not banned in Islam because it includes essential requirements of marriage which are the approval of the two parties and their parents, two men for witnesses, and the contract.
Speaking to Arab News, he said: “The problem with this kind of marriage is that it violates government marriage regulations. The contracts must be certified by a government agency. This procedure will help children to have official papers to live their lives. However, the men and women who want to get married with undocumented contracts do not think about the future of their children. The Saudi authorities have the right to punish them for destroying their children’s future.”
Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen, a member at the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR), said children always pay the price for their parents’ mistakes. Men and women who depend on undocumented marriage contracts ruin their children’s future. Parents who take this step don't know the official rules of marriage in the Kingdom. At the same time, local authorities must launch an awareness campaign in different languages, among foreign communities on the importance of adhering to official procedures of marriage to safeguard their children’s future.