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Personal Status Law No.188 of Iraq (1959) – 3: Matrimonial Rights and their Stipulations

Section 1 – The Dowry*

*The woman collects her deferred dowry in case of divorce estimated in gold on the date of marriage conclusion as stipulated in Resolution № 127 promulgated by the Revolutionary Command Council dated July 24, 1999.

Article 19

1- The wife is entitled to the dowry stipulated in the contract. If the dowry is not stipulated in the contract or if it is initially denied, the wife shall be given a dowry like that of her peers.

2- If the fiancé (khatib) gives his fiancée (makhtoubah) some money considering it as a part of the dowry and later on one of them dies or changes his mind about the contract, the money that was given should be returned in kind; and if it was consumed, it should be compensated with something in return.

3- Gifts fall under the stipulation of donations.

Article 20

1- The dowry may be settled immediately or deferred in part or in total. When this point is not stipulated in the contract, then customary rules shall be followed.

2- The dowry maturity date stipulated in the contract ceases to be valid with death or divorce.

Article 21

The wife is entitled to the entire stipulated dowry with the consummation of the marriage or with the death of the spouse. However, she is entitled to half of the stipulated dowry with divorce or before marriage consummation.

Article 22

In case of separation after entering into an invalid contract, the smaller of dowries between the one stipulated in the contract and the one like that of the woman’s peers shall be settled. If no dowry is stipulated in the contract, a dowry like that of the woman’s peers shall be given to her.

Section 2 – The Wife’s Alimony

Article 23

1- The wife is entitled to alimony from the husband as of the initiation of the sound contract even if she was staying at her parent’s house, unless the husband asks her to move to his place and she abstains unrightfully.

2- Her abstention is considered rightful if the husband did not pay her the immediate dowry or as long as he is not spending on her.

Article 26

1- A husband should not house with his wife, without her consent, her fellow wife in the same dwelling.

2- A husband has the right to house with his wife in the marriage dwelling his son from another until the age of puberty.

3- A husband has the right to house his parents or one of them with his wife in the marriage dwelling, and the wife has no right to object to that.

4- A husband has the right to house with his wife in the same dwelling whoever is legitimately responsible for their maintenance, provided that no harm would
be inflicted on her as a consequence*.

*Article 26 was repealed and replaced by the current text by virtue of the 16th amendment law № 19 of the year 1999. Paragraph 4 was then added to the same article by virtue of the 17th amendment law № 22 of the year 1999.

Article 27

The wife’s alimony shall be estimated according to the couple’s financial situation, whether they are living in abundance or in modest circumstances.

Article 28

1- The amount of alimony may be increased or decreased with the change in the couple’s financial situation and the living standard in the country.

2- A lawsuit concerning the increase or decrease of fixed alimony is to be accepted in the case of emergency circumstances that render it necessary.

Article 30

If the wife is facing financial hardship and she has permission to borrow money according to the previous article, and if there is a person from whom she can ask for alimony (if she has no husband), then he shall lend her money upon request and according to his capacity and he shall claim his money back from the husband only. However, if the wife borrows money from a foreigner, the latter shall have the choice to claim his money back from either the wife or the husband. But in case no person is found to lend her money and she is capable of no work, the state shall provide financial assistance.

Article 31

1- During the proceedings of the alimony lawsuit, the judge has the right to decide on a temporary alimony for the wife to be paid by the husband, and the decision shall be implemented immediately.

2- The said decision shall be kept or amended, as to its calculation or rejection, in light of the final verdict.

Article 32

The accumulated amount of alimony shall not cease to be effective upon divorce or upon the death of one of the two spouses.

Article 33

The wife shall not obey her husband in any matter that conflicts with the rulings of the Shari’a and the judge has the right to decide on alimony for her.

Next: Chapter 4 – The Dissolution of Marriage

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