The churches in Jordan have embarked on drastic amendments to the Personal Status Law with a view to undertake radical changes designed to modernize it and treat the gaps that contravene the welfare of Christian families as well as help strengthen social ties.
The amendments–which are being reviewed by specialized committees comprising of priests, lawyers and jurists–will deal with inheritance, custody, alimony, and marriage age. The amendments are aimed at ensuring equality in inheritance entitled to Christian males and females as well as confining the inheritance to daughters and wife in case there is no male son.
The Latin Patriarchate has already begun to review its personal status law, according to the Latin Ecclesiastical Court judge Father Dr. Shawki Batarian. He said that a legal committee is preparing a personal status draft law relevant to the Latin Church, noting that the most prominent features of the law is equality of inheritance between males and females, and the exclusivity of inheritance to girls and wife in the absence of a male brother. The amendments will also address the issue of adoption, its concept, and rights within the Christian family.
Fr. Batarian said the draft personal status law would include issues relevant to custody and marriage. With regard to the permitted age of marriage, he pointed out that for some 25 years the Church had followed the relevant provisions of the Jordanian laws, stressing that marriage of persons under the age of 18 years is not authorized except in special cases that need prior approval of the bishop personally.
On the other hand, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Christophoros Atallah pointed out that the Orthodox Church had also formed a legal committee designed to update and develop the ecclesiastical laws including the Personal Status Law concerning matters relevant to marriage. He added that the amendment is intended to formulate a modern social status law commensurate with the challenges facing the Christian family nowadays.
He said that the Greek lawyers specializing in family laws would join the legal committee formed by the Church to help review and modernize the laws, adding that it would review issues relevant to marriage, inheritance and the possibility of equality between males and females in this regard.