Q. What is the Islamic ruling on a divorce becoming null if only one talaq was called and the persons are separated for more than ten months? Also, if a divorced wife is re-marrying to someone else and a child is involved (girl, 15 months), who has full custody of the child/children? Is it permissible for a man to have a second wife even though he knows that it will bring discomfort to his first wife and cause disharmony among them?
A. If only talaq was called with the (expressed words of talaq) and then ten months have passed with the spouses living separately, then there is presently no marriage between the spouses. With the passing of ten months (in seperation) after the talaq, it means then the iddah (waiting period) of the wife has come to an end without the husband returning to her. This situation changes a revocable divorce into an irrevocable one, and the marriage between both parties will be broken.
If the husband wishes to take back his wife, then he will need to remarry her.
If the divorced wife is marrying someone else, then the 15 months old child will be in the custody of the mother.
Before taking a second wife, a man must give consideration to the state of the first family. If he sees that his action can bring about disharmony and a possible breakdown in the relationship with his first wife, then he should avoid this marriage (with a second wife). It should not happen that while he wishes to build a relation with a second wife, he is actually breaking the relation with his first wife. This type of conduct is opposing to the teachings of Islam.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan