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Last Updated: 2013/04/20
Summary of question
How divorce is granted?
How divorce is granted? How many times should the words of divorce contract be recited?
Concise answer
1. Divorce is a one-sided contract (which is one of the unilateral obligations "iqa'at") and it is carried out by the husband unilaterally even though the woman may not consent to it." Therefore, a man can divorce his wife one-sidedly in accordance with the rules prescribed by the religion.[1]
2. Divorce contract must be recited with the correct Arabic words in a way such that two just men listen to it. If the man wants to recite it by himself and his wife's name is Fatimah, he should say:
"زَوْجَتِى فٰاطِمَةُ طالِقٌ"
Which means, my wife Fatimah is freed. If he appoints someone to recite it, the attorney should say:
"زَوْجَةُ مُوكِّلى فٰاطِمَةُ طٰالِقٌ"[2]
3. We can refer to some of the rules and conditions in regards to divorce as follows:
A. a man who divorces his wife must be sane, and as an obligatory precaution, he must also be adult, and he should divorce her of his own free will. Hence, if someone compels him to divorce his wife, the divorce will be void. It is also necessary that he seriously intends to divorce. If, therefore, he pronounces the formula of divorce jokingly, the divorce will not be valid."[3]
B. a man who wants to divorce his wife is supposed to do it with the intention of divorce seriously. So, the divorce is not correct and valid if he recites it kiddingly.[4]
Also, one of the conditions of divorce is that the woman should not be in her menses except in the following three circumstances:
1- If the husband has not had sexual intercourse with her at all after marriage.
2- If it is known that she is pregnant. If it is not known whether or not she is pregnant and the husband divorces her in the state of Hayz and later it transpires that she had been pregnant at the time of divorce, there is no problem in the divorce [The divorce is valid.].
3- If the husband is absent, and he is unable or it is difficult for him to ascertain whether or not she is pure from Hayz or Nifas."[5]
If a man divorces his wife before he has sexual intercourse with her, he should give half of the fixed dower to her.[6]
Otherwise, if he has sexual intercourse, he should give the whole of the fixed dower to her.
4. If the divorce contract has been recited once by the man then the woman would be separated from him and therefore, there would be no need to recite it again.
It should be noted that if the contract has been recited thrice but they refer to each other after each time (of reciting the contract), this divorce is called Bayen "بائن" (which means he cannot marry her again unless another man marries her next, (have sex), and then divorces her. This contract husband is called “Mohallel” or middleman) which it has especial rules. For further information in this regards, please refer to Index: "divorced three times at one sitting and Bayen Divorce", answer 27550.
5. As for the permanent marriage, how long should the Iddah of divorce be counted is as follows: the woman must wait till she menstruates twice and become pure if she wants to get married again. So, if she had her period for the third times her Iddah would be considered as finish. Otherwise, if the woman doesn’t menstruate but she is at the age of those women who menstruate she must wait three months after the divorce.[7] What the Iddah of a pregnant woman is to wait till her child will be born or aborted.[8]
As for the temporary marriage, if a woman menstruates she must wait as long as two periods (after the contract of temporary marriage has been finished or her husband granted the rest of it). Otherwise, her period of Iddah is 45 days.[9]

[2] . Imam Khomeini, Tawzih al-Masaeil (al-mohasha), ibid, p 522, question 2508, compiler: Bani Hashemi Khomeini, Syed Muhammad Hussain, the office of Islamic propagation, Qom, eighth edition, 1424 AH.
[3] - Tawzih al-Masail (with annotations by Imam Khomeini), vol.2, pg. 517, issue No.2498.
[4] . Ibid.
[5] - Tawzih al-Masail (with annotations by Imam Khomeini), vol.2, pg. 518, issue No.2500
[6] - Nejat al-'Ebad, Imam Khomeini, pg. 378, issue No.7.
[7] . Tawzih al-Masaeil of Maraja', question 2511 and 2512 and Ayatollah Vahid, Tawzih al-Masaeil- question 2575 and 2576.
[8] . Ibid, question 2514; Ayatollah Vahid, Tawzih al-Masaeil, question 2575 and 2576.
[9] . Ibid, question 2515; Ayatollah Vahid, Tawzih al-Masaeil, question 2579, and the office of Ayatollah Khamenei; adapted from answer 2311.
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