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Egytian woman seeks divorce over housework

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A 28 year old woman in Egypt referred to as Samar M has filed for divorce because her husband of 2 weeks does all the housework - cooking, cleaning, sweeping and the laundry.

Speaking to Egyptian news website Masrawy, Samar M said that her husband “is the ‘woman of the house and I’m hating my life with him. We’ve been only married for two weeks, and he is either cooking or doing the laundry because he knows how to sort the washable clothes by color. He then irons the clothes, sweeps, and arranges the food in the fridge”

As he is going about his chores the husband is said to be “looking very happy.”

Samar M added further that her husband does not give her “the freedom to handle my home affairs, I feel like a guest in a hotel.” Samar M further stated that “He doesn’t let me touch anything in our house…he controls everything in our house, and I have no say in anything”. Understandably, this must be very frustrating and if this case fell under the ambit of English law, the husband’s actions would be cited as an example of unreasonable behaviour. Furthermore, the wife would not be allowed to apply for a divorce until she had been married for at least a year.   

However, the recent case of Owens v Owens has raised questions regarding what will be considered unreasonable behaviour by the Court. In that case, a divorce petition was refused as the Judge held that the husband’s constant beratement of the wife over her infidelity was to be “expected in a marriage”. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court but it has raised questions concerning how serious behaviour would need to be in order for the Court to consider it ‘unreasonable’. It may be that if a case such as Samar M’s was to be heard before the English Courts, the husband’s behaviour may not be considered sufficiently serious to qualify as ‘unreasonable behaviour’.