What is the procedure for divorce in Islam?
There is a whole set of regulations concerning divorce. These are designed to ensure that divorce should not be resorted to light-heartedly, or in a fit of passion or resentment. It should be a deliberate act resolved upon after a careful consideration of the consequences both for the parties and the children, if there are any, of the marriage. With this end in view the procedure is somewhat drawn out, so that the parties may have opportunities for cool reflection and for reconciliation.
Divorce may be initiated by either husband or wife. The process of divorce is spread over a period, during which every effort must be made at smoothing out differences and at reconciliation. If differences become acute, the counsel and help of mediators, one from the wife’s people and one from the husband’s, should be sought (4:36). If divorce is finally decided upon, the husband cannot take away from the wife anything he has given her (4:21-22), and must make suitable provision for her over a period of six months, which is normally required for the process to be completed. He is also financially responsible for his children until they come of age. If husband and wife are reconciled to each other during this period, the divorce proceedings are dropped (2:229-230). (Islam: It’s Meaning for Modern Man Muhammad Zafrullah Khan – p. 247)
Some acceptable reasons for divorce in Islam are: Adultery, but four eyewitnesses are required if the accused mate denies it, the husbands’ refusal to economically maintain the family, the husbands’ refusal to have conjugal relations for more than three months, physical or sexual abuse of a spouse or children, or incompatibility of spouses to such a degree that differences cannot be reconciled. (Woman in Islam – Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan (ra) pp. 13)