Sheikh Ahmad Dhû al-Nûrayn, Assistant Supervisor of the Islamic Research Office
The divorce in question will either be a revocable divorce that allows for the resumption of the marriage (a first or second divorce) or it will be an irrevocable divorce (a third divorce).
In the former case, she has full rights to maintenance and housing throughout the duration of her waiting period (`iddah). Upon completion of the waiting period, she will cease to have those rights, since she will at that point have become legally a stranger to her former husband.
It is sincerely hoped, however, that the husband and wife will come to an amicable settlement before that time and resume their marital life together.
If the divorce is irrevocable - either a third divorce or a separation initiated by the woman for which compensation is tendered - then her rights to maintenance and housing cease immediately upon the pronouncement of divorce.
If, however, she is pregnant, then she will continue to enjoy full rights to maintenance and housing for the duration of her pregnancy, regardless of whether the divorce is revocable or irrevocable.
As for the custody of the daughter born of the marriage, the matter must be decided according to what is in the daughter’s welfare and best interests. If it is determined to be in her best interests to remain with her mother, then it is necessary for the mother to be awarded full custody. If, on the other hand, it is in the girl’s best interests to remain with her father, then he should be given custody. However, the other party must be awarded full visitation rights.
In cases where it is equally in the child’s interest to remain in the custody of her mother or her father, scholars of law disagree as to who should be awarded primary custody, the father or the mother.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today