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Sharia law is a system of Islamic law that is derived from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It covers a wide range of topics, including marriage and divorce, inheritance, business and commercial law, and criminal law.

In Australia, Sharia law is not recognised as a separate legal system. Australian law is based on the common law system, and the laws of the country are enacted by the federal and state parliaments. The Australian legal system operates independently from any religious or cultural influence.

However, in some cases, Islamic law may be taken into account by Australian courts when deciding family law matters. This includes divorce applications and child custody. This is because Australian law recognises the right of parties to enter into agreements or arrangements for the dissolution of their marriage, subject to certain legal requirements. 

If parties to a dispute have entered into an agreement that is consistent with Islamic law, the court may consider the terms of the agreement when making its decision.

Are Muslim Marriages Recognised in Australia?

Muslims who live in Australia are entitled to have their marriages recognised under Australian law. This means that a Muslim marriage is recognised as a legal union in Australia if it meets the legal requirements set out in the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth).


The requirements for a Muslim marriage to be recognised in Australia are the same as for any other religious or civil marriage. The parties must be over the age of 18 years and not closely related to each other. They must also give their free and informed consent to the marriage and be of opposite sex.

Marriage Certificate Muslim

To obtain a marriage certificate for a Muslim marriage in Australia, the couple must register their marriage with the relevant state or territory authorities. The registration process involves filling out a form and providing relevant documentation, such as proof of identity and proof of marriage.

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Can Muslims Have Multiple Marriages in Australia?

Muslims can have multiple marriages in Australia, but this is not permitted at law. Accordingly, Muslims may choose to have multiple religious marriages, such as Nikah ceremonies, outside of the legal system. 

While these marriages may be recognised by the Muslim community, they are not legally recognised in Australia. They do not confer any legal rights or responsibilities on the parties involved.

Is Polygamy in Australia Legal?

No, polygamy is not legal in Australia. The Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) defines marriage as the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, and the law does not recognise or allow for polygamous marriages or relationships.


In Australia, it is a criminal offence to enter into a polygamous marriage or relationship, or to participate in the solemnisation of such a marriage. Anyone found guilty of such an offence can be imprisoned for up to five years.


Some individuals may still practice polygamy within their cultural or religious communities, this practice is not recognised or condoned by the Australian divorce law. All marriages and relationships in Australia must comply with the law, and any attempt to enter into a polygamous relationship will be considered illegal.

What is Khula in Islam?

Khula is a form of divorce initiated by a Muslim woman in Islamic law. It is a type of divorce in which a woman seeks a separation from her husband by giving up her right to financial support and returning her dowry or some other form of compensation to her husband.


In a khula divorce, the woman typically makes a request to her husband for a divorce, either through a court or through arbitration. If the husband agrees to the divorce under Muslim law for divorce, the couple can end their marriage without going through a lengthy legal process. If the husband does not agree to the divorce, the woman may have to present her case to a judge who will consider the evidence and decide whether or not to grant the divorce.


Khula is considered to be a valid form of divorce in Islam. It is recognised by most Islamic legal systems. However, the procedure for khula may vary depending on the country or region in which it is being practised.


It is important to note that khula is not the only form of divorce available to Muslim couples. The husband may also initiate a divorce, known as talaq. This may occur through various methods such as oral pronouncement, written document, or judicial decree. The process and requirements for talaq vary between different schools of Islamic law and regions.

Is Khula recognised in Australian Law?

Khula, as a form of divorce initiated by a Muslim woman, is not specifically recognised in Australian law. However, Australian law recognises the right of parties to enter into agreements or arrangements for the dissolution of their marriage, subject to certain legal requirements.


This means that if a Muslim couple in Australia wishes to end their marriage through the process of khula, they may be able to do so by entering into a legal agreement. This agreement must meet the requirements of Australian law for the dissolution of a marriage.


Alternatively, the couple may seek a divorce through the Family Court of Australia, which has jurisdiction over family law matters, including divorce. In this case, the woman would need to file a divorce application and provide evidence of the grounds for the divorce, which must include irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and other grounds recognised by Australian law.

Applying For Divorce in Australia for Islamic Marriage

In Australia, the process for obtaining a divorce for an Islamic marriage is the same as for any other type of marriage. The legal requirements and procedures for obtaining a divorce are governed by the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), and apply to all Australians regardless of their cultural or religious background.


To apply for a divorce for an Islamic marriage, you must satisfy the legal requirements. This includes demonstrating that you have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months and that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. You will also need to file a divorce application with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, pay the required fee, and attend a court hearing.


Divorce is a civil matter and is separate from any religious or cultural practices. While Islamic law or principles may have informed the formation of the marriage, they are not recognised as legal grounds for divorce in Australia.

What are the Rules for Determining Child Custody for Islamic Divorce?

In Australia, the Family Law Act grants both parents equal and shared parental responsibility for their children, rather than the concept of “custody”. Ideally, children should spend significant time with both parents, who should take an active role in their upbringing. The Court’s primary consideration is the child’s best interests in any parenting arrangement.


In contrast, according to traditional Sharia law, the mother usually receives primary guardianship of young children. The father has primary financial responsibility. However, Muslim couples in Australia can privately agree to follow this traditional model, but either parent can apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court to modify this arrangement.


The Court is likely to order substantial time for a child with both parents, unless it is not in the child’s best interests. Shared parental responsibility is the preferred outcome under Australian family law, even if it differs from Muslim traditions.


If you have any questions or concerns about the muslim law for divorce process in Australia for an Islamic marriage, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from top family lawyers in Sydney who is familiar with the relevant laws and procedures. Here at Lyons Law Group, we provide you with guidance and assistance throughout the process.


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