Sheikh Hânî al-Jubayr, judge at the Jeddah Supreme Court
A khul` separation takes place by agreement between the husband and the wife. However, if a woman’s life with her husband becomes unbearable for some reason and her husband refuses to divorce her willingly or accept a khul` resolution, she may take her case before a judge who could terminate their marriage contract if he thinks there are valid reasons to justify it.
In case the husband leaves his wife for a long time and the wife suffers from his absence on account of lack of financial support or lack of fulfillment of her physical needs, she may request the judge to terminate her marriage.
Allah says: “For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives; a waiting for four months is ordained; if then they return, Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful. But if their intention is firm for divorce, Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 226-227].
In this case, the judge will summon the husband to attend the court and offer him a choice whether to divorce his wife or fulfill his marriage obligations. In case he refuses to do either, the judge will nullify the marriage.
Source: Islam Today