International Journal of Legal Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Online Divorce an Analytical Study of Jordan’s E-Transaction and Personal Status Laws

*Mohammed Ibrahim Esan Abu El-Haija
Department Of Graduate Studies, Middle East University, Amman, Jordan

*Corresponding Author:
Mohammed Ibrahim Esan Abu El-Haija
Department Of Graduate Studies, Middle East University, Amman, Jordan
Email:MAbuElHaija@meu.edu.jo

Published on: 2019-04-09

Abstract

The study took place to assess the legal position on online divorce in Jordan as well as the country’s E-transaction and Personal Status Laws. That spread of the Internet and different kinds of services made possible by it has enabled users to take different legal actions, including divorce, through the Internet whether they accord with Jordan’s E-transaction and Personal Status Laws or not. The research concluded that Jordanian legislators have recognized this kind of divorce in legislation despite the contradiction between Jordan’s E-transaction and Personal Status Laws. The researcher recommends to Jordan’s legislators to amend the Personal Status Law to fix this contradiction.

Keywords

Divorce; Personal status law; E-transaction Law

Introduction

The Internet has seen a proliferation [1] with an accompanying increase in the number of users as well as numer-ous and varied uses of the network, particularly what is known as social networking like Twitter and Facebook[2]. These have enabled the use of various kinds of services (chatting, sharing photos and videos) that encourage users to access the digital world to enjoy the various services available on the Internet. The evolution of the Internet and its enormous penetration have brought about major changes in social concepts, values and behavior, including some strange ones like online divorce. The first divorce over the Internet in Saudi Arabia was a Saudi man who divorced his wife by saying, “You are divorced, are divorced, are divorced”) on the social networking website, Twitter[3] .The above raises some questions regarding Jordanian law on the subject. Did that Saudi case give cogency to online divorce? If the answer is yes, did he sim-ulate any further conditions to get this divorce recognized or not? Did he distinguish between verbal and written divorce? To answer these questions, the research will be conducted in two parts, where various means of electronic divorce will be addressed in the first part, and the impact of e-divorce on Jordan’s E- transaction and Personal Status Laws in the second part.

Abbreviations: Electronic Transaction: e-transaction; Electronic divorce: e-divorce; Electronic mail: e-mail.

Part One: Various Means Of E-divorce

Different ways and means are available to take a di-vorce action online, including e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

E-mail

This is a digital means of sending text over the Internet or other computer networks. In the past it simulated both the sender and the addressee to be online at the same time to use this service. But later the “mailbox” feature became available which made it possible for mails to be kept to be read at any time. The e-mail messaging process is summarized [4] in the following steps. When sending a message, the sender needs a mail client such as Microsoft Outlook and a future address after pressing the SEND button the client message formatting on the structure of the e-mail, and be on a certain formula. And then the program sends the message by the Protocol (SMTP) to be sent to the receiver. Using the texting service made possible by e-mail, the husband sends a text to his wife to tell her that she is divorced. But does the law recognize this mode of divorce? In case the husband denies that the e-mail text was sent by him, does the wife get any chance to rely on it as proof or not? These questions will be answered in the second part.

Facebook & Twitter

Facebook [5] and Twitter [6] are considered two of the most popular social communication media for several services like texting as well as audio and video messaging. They serve as a means of marketing and promotions. They have also been used in judicial notifications, as in the case of a judge in a Manhattan court who permitted a plaintiff in a divorce case to notify her husband of the court papers on the husband’s Facebook account. It is assumed that a husband can divorce his wife verbally or in writing, using sev-eral services on Facebook and Twitter. The question then arises as to the legal validity on this action.

Part Two: The Impact Of E-divorce In Jordan’s E-transac-tion And Personal Status Laws

Meaning of divorce: Termination of marriage contract using specific words and expressions by the husband [7]. Regarding this definition, the husband can terminate the marriage contact orally or by taking any action to indicate his readiness terminate the contract. But can this definition of divorce apply to an online action? This will form the basis of our next discussion considering both laws (Personal Status and E-transaction Laws).

The Situation Of Personal Status Law From E-divorce

Article number 83 of Jordan’s Personal Status Law number 36 of the year 2010 ensures as follows. A) A divorce may happen orally or in writing and for a disabled person with any sign. B) Written divorce based on inten-tion. Article number 84 ensures that verbal divorce when using specific words does not need to disclose an intention.It appears that the legislator distinguishes between written and verbal divorces on the one hand (you must simulate intention to divorce in a written divorce), and on the other hand, distinguishes between using specific words of divorce and not using them. In the last assumption, the intention is a necessary condition, while the intention to divorce is assumed when specific words are used. In Jordan, there are over nine cases of e-divorce [8]. Since Jordanian law does not make specific provisions for this kind of divorce, the scholars went with different opinions. According to one of these opinions[9], the divorce is valid if it is proved that the husband sent the online text message. Another opinion [10] looks at the intent of the husband besides proving the text message was sent by the husband. Yet another opinion [11] dismisses this kind of divorce altogether.It is clear that in the absence of legal provisions on e-divorce the scholars are of different opinions on the matter.

The Situation Of E-divorce In Jordan’s E-Transaction Law

Jordan’s E-transaction [12] Law number 85 was is-sued in the year 2001 and modified by law number 15 of the year 2015. The legislator went to great lengths to recognize some electronic transactions and exclude a specific catego-ry of transactions. This result came from article number 3, which enacts as follows.

The Provisions Of This Law Shall Not Apply To:

Contracts, instruments or documents that are gov-erned by special legislation and prepared in a certain form, or in accordance with specific procedures, including the following:

  1. Wills and amendments thereto;
  2. Waqfs and amending conditions thereof;
  3. Transactions disposing of immovable property, includ-ing related powers of attorney, title deeds, and trans-actions creating real rights in respect thereof, with the exception of lease contracts;
  4. Power of attorney instruments and transactions relating to personal status;
  5. Contract termination or revocation notices relating to water or electrical services, health insurance or life in-surance;
  6. Bills of statements, court proceedings, and judicial noti-fication and courts decisions.

It is clear that paragraph number 4 excludes per-sonal status from the provision of the law. So the legislator excluded the e-divorce transaction from the provision of the law. Butthe question arises: does this exclusion extend to involve the expression itself via the Internet or any other electronic means?

The provisions of article number 9 of the law en-acts: Electronic message shall be considered as a means of expressing the will legally admissible for offer or accep-tance for contractual intent.

Regarding this article, it notes that the legislator recognizes the expression of intention via the Internet, which means the legislator, recognizes e-divorce in articles 83 and 84 of Jordan’s Status law.

Conclusion

In our investigation of the Jordanian situation regarding e-divorce in E-transaction and Personal Status Laws, we find out the following.

A contradiction exists between E-transaction Law and Personal Status Law with regard to e-divorce.The Jordanian legislator recognizes e-divorce when the Judge investigates the real intent of the husband’s although it is a hard mission for the investigating judge.

Recommendation

The study recommends for Jordan’s legislators to fix the contradiction between the E-transaction Law and Personal Status Law.

Acknowledgment

The author is grateful to the Middle East University, Am-man, Jordan, for the financial support granted to cover the publication fee for this research article.

References

  1. The number of Internet users was one billion in 2005 and two billion in 2010 and three billion in 2014 and over four billion in 2019. http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/
  2. The number of Facebook users in Jordan is over three million.
  3. Since it is considered the first online divorce case, it was entered in the Guinness World Record on the 9thof March 2013, http://www.pal-forex.com/AR/portal/general-news/41339.html.
  4. E-mail features a set of properties and advantages. A) The ability to send a message to multiple recipients. B) Sending a message containing an audio or video text, images and maps. C) Speed in sending messages, as they take a few seconds to reach. D) The user can extract messages from the mailbox via a mail program which displays the messages one line per message and enables the user to send an answer to any of them. E) E-mail shows the name of the sender. F) It shows the time when the message arrived and the length of the message in the list. G) User can choose a letter from the e-mail system summary displays the contents after watching the message to the user to choose the process that wants to respond to the sender or leave a message in the mailbox to see them again when needed or a copy of the message is kept in the file or get rid of Message.
  5. Facebook was founded in the year 2004 and has over two billion users around the world. For more informa-tion, visit http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/facebook.com.
  6. Twitter has over three hundred million users. For more details, visit: http://www.arabiaweddings.com.
  7. AlQorobi, Explanation of Quran meaning, part no. 3, page no. 126.
  8. http://akefmaaita.blogspot.com/2010/05/blog-post_11.html.
  9. Dr. Wassef Albakri, the article available on:http://am-man1.net/jonews/ask-news/10110.html.
  10. Mohammad Salih, Opinion no. 36761, available on: http://islamqa.info/ar/36761.
  11. Essam Arabiat, on line article,http://amman1.net/jonews/ask-news/10110.html.
  12. Meaning of transaction: An action or set of actions oc-curring between two or more parties to establish obli-gations upon one party, or mutual obligations between more than one party relating to the conduct of busi-ness, a civil obligation, or any government department. Meaning of e-transaction: A transaction conducted by electronic means. Article number 2 of Jordan’s e-transaction law.