Women in Saudi Arabia will now be informed via text message if they're being divorced — and the government says it'll help protect them.

The law, which took effect Sunday, was aimed at ensuring that the women's husbands aren't secretly ending their marriages, the Saudi Ministry of Justice said in a news release.

"Saudi courts have started to send such notifications ... a step aimed at protecting the rights of female clients, and enhancing digital transformation with more services," officials said.


The text messages women are to receive about their marital status will include a certificate number and relevant court information, according to the government. Women also could access information about their status online and visit a court to access their divorce paperwork.

“In most Arab countries, men can just divorce their wives,” Suad Abu-Dayyeh, of the human-rights group Equality Now, told Reuters. “At least women will know whether they are divorced or not. It is a tiny step, but it is a step in the right direction."

The new law marked the latest in a string of moves aimed at modernizing the Middle Eastern kingdom.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently overturned a ban on women driving, and also ordered movie theaters to reopen again after more than 35 years.