I have a question regarding the validity of divorce if forced. I was forced to sign the decree of divorce by my mother after serious differences developed between my family and my wife’s family over whether my wife, who is a doctor, should work or not. I and my mother (I am the only son and father has passed) were completely against my wife working after the birth of my daughter. My wife’s family on the other hand were adamant that she will work no matter what. So one day when I refused to allow my wife to give a job interview, her mother came over and after a very hot exchange of words and abuses, she took away my wife with her, although I tried very hard and also requested my wife not to leave as I feared the breakup of our marriage. She had already spent about five months at her parent’s house before my daughter’s birth due to differences on permission to work and having a separate house. She came back to my house after our child’s birth. After my wife left again, my mother pressurised me to divorce her but I kept avoiding it expecting my wife and her parents to relent on their demand. After about three months, seeing no compromise from my wife I sent her a text message that if she didnot come back within a week on the condition that she will not work, she will be divorced once. My wife agreed to come. But before she could come, my mother forced me to sign the divorce papers threatening that if I didnot do so, she would kill herself. She had attempted suicide before by taking sleeping pills on another dispute and I knew she could it again in my absence. She said it would be either her or my wife. My sisters, who are all married, also sided with my mother and said that they would cut off all realtions with me if I did not do so. Now being the only son and caretaker of the family I could not afford to let my mother die or strain relations with sisters. Besides my mother had brought me up like a father after he died when i was only six. I felt exteremely indebted to her. I told my mother that my wife had agreed to come on the condition that she will not work. But she was not prepared to listen to any thing and told me that as long as she was alive she could not see me with that woman. I was left with no choice but to sign the papers. Please tell me if the divorce occured.
In the above-mentioned case, when you opted to sign the divorce paper (talaq nama) on the insistence of your mother and sisters, then the talaq took place and your wife became divorced. As the oral talaq is valid written talaq is also valid and it takes place.
Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) knows Best
Darul Uloom Deoband