The Supreme Court has instructed lower courts to verify whether a husband is financially supporting his wife and children before authorising a second marriage.
The apex court imposed the requirement in a circular issued on Monday, which stated that courts must hereafter obtain a statement from the first wife before registering polygamous marriages.
While all courts in the country previously obtained the statement to ensure financial support, the circular noted that some courts have recently been registering polygamous marriages without checking with the wife. Some courts have been assuming financial support in cases where it lacked expense records, it noted.
Islamic Sharia allows Muslim men to marry up to four wives at a time.
Of the 196 polygamous marriages in the Maldives in 2018, 84 were registered by island magistrate courts and 112 by the family court in Malé, according to judicial statistics.
A total of 5,290 marriages and 3,166 divorces were registered in 2018.