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A Text Message Will Soon Notify Saudi Women Of Their Own Divorce

Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer be the last to know of their own divorce, according to reports. 

From Sunday, a new regulation issued by the country's Ministry of Justice will see a court notify women via text message when a divorce decree (or official order) is issued, a Saudi lawyer told Bloomberg.

According to lawyer Nisreen al-Ghamdi, some men currently register divorce deeds at the courts without telling their wives.

The lawyer said the regulation will ensure women are, firstly, aware of their marital status, and able to protect their rights to alimony, or financial support.

Hessah al-Ajaji drives her car for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image: AAP

"The new measure ensures women get their (alimony) rights when they're divorced," al-Ghamdi said.

"It also ensures that any powers of attorney issued before the divorced are not misused."

READ MORE: Saudi Women Official Behind The Wheel 

It follows an historic end to the country's decades-old ban on female drivers last year,  and is said to be part of a transformation spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But despite limited reforms over the last decade -- including opening up sports stadiums and cinemas -- Saudi women continue to be repressed by the country's male guardianship system.

Guardianship laws are legal codes based on a strict interpretation of Shariah law that ensure women in Saudi Arabia remain a legal dependent.

This means they need a male guardian to consent to their basic needs, such as education, work and marriage.

Saudi women have only just been allowed to get behind the wheel. Image: AAP

For example, permission to marry must be granted by a guardian otherwise it won't be recognised by a Saudi court.

Only recently was a royal decree reversed whereby divorced women would automatically lose custody of their children to their husbands.

The system ensures Saudi Arabia remains one of the most gender unequal countries in the Middle East.

Contact the author: ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au

Featured image: AAP