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Breaking Up the Family: Divorce in Egyptian Law and Practice

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If the legal status of women wishing to end an unhappy marriage has undoubtedly improved through the codification process of personal status law in Egypt in the twentieth century, it still remains very unequal in comparison to the privileges enjoyed by men in that field. Moreover, the practical effects of these legal reforms can be questioned.

This chapter will study marriage breakups in Egypt through both legal and sociological approaches. Legal texts governing family law will first be examined to expose the different ways marriage can be broken up and how the reforms were legitimated by reference to sharî'a principles. Then the various obstacles that impede the effective implementation of these reforms will be exposed, to stress that the study of law should capture the language of law in action and not only of law in books.

Affiliations: 1: (IRD, UMR 201, Cairo, Egypt) with the collaboration of (CNRS, ISP, Cachan, France)


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