Home Institution

Vanderbilt University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


In 2004, the parliament amended the original Moudawana, or Family Code, from 1958. Among the changes, they altered the laws regarding divorce. The 2004 Moudawana included new provisions for women to obtain divorces in an attempt to create more progressive and equitable laws. The process of divorce, however, is still unequal for men and women. Despite women’s social conditions improving under the 2004 Moudawana, discrimination against women within the Moroccan legal system continues to prevent women from accessing their rights. A complex legal system and general lack of knowledge about the law create an overwhelming experience for women who do not have the financial means to obtain a lawyer. Even when women are able to obtain a divorce, they face custody and property battles after divorce. Many men do not pay the child support the court legally requires them to pay. Women often do not have the financial means to bring their case back to court. Furthermore, societal and cultural norms greatly deter women from seeking a divorce even in the direst of circumstances. The purpose of this study is to uncover the true implementation and social reality of Moroccan divorce laws. This study uses information gathered from interviews to uncover the social and legal reality of divorce in Morocco, focusing on questions such as: Has the new Moudawana improved women’s access to divorce? What are obstacles in the divorce process? Do women have fair access to divorce under the law? What are women’s lives like after obtaining a divorce? Ultimately, this study finds that while the new Moudawana has improved women’s access to divorce, a series of legal and social obstacles prevent women from accessing their rights.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Family Law | Family, Life Course, and Society | Law and Society | Legal | Legal Studies | Women's History | Women's Studies


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