Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dowry, Islamic Law and Prenuptial Agreements

Call this today's news on prenuptial agreements. It has nothing practical to say about prenuptial agreements (well, not yet but I bet we see some of these cases in Indiana in the future) but it does get my intellectual curiosity going. Google News updates does capture some very interesting stories.

The Cincinnati Post gives the following facts under the headline Judge: Dowry not a prenup:

"A man does not have to pay his former wife $25,000, promised as part of a dowry before their traditional Muslim marriage because a judge ruled the payment is part of a religious agreement, not a legal contract."
At the same time, I learned of a new blog - International Family Law. That blog reported also on this case under the title Mahr – Islamic Marriage Contract – Held to be Not Enforceable. That blog also reports of other cases:

Other Cases Cases concerning mahr agreements – some domestic and others entered into overseas – have been litigated in several U.S. courts. The agreements have occasionally been upheld but only when presented as a simple contract and not as a prenuptial agreement. The distinction and application of the principles is well illustrated by two New Jersey cases.

I still wonder how American (including Indiana) courts deal with Islamic polygamous marriages.

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