How Is Mahr Addressed in an Islamic Divorce in Illinois?
Marriages and divorces in the United States are handled according to the laws in the state where a couple resides. However, Muslim couples also abide by Shariah, or Islamic law, and this may introduce a variety of complex issues into an Islamic divorce. In some cases, this can lead to disagreements about how the mahr provisions of a marriage contract will be interpreted in U.S. courts.
Marriage Contracts and Mahr Provisions
When a Muslim couple agrees to a marriage contract, the mahr provisions state that the husband or a member of his family will give certain property to the wife. Typically, there are two parts to the mahr: an advanced mahr, which is given at the time of marriage, and a postponed mahr, which is given when the marriage ends either through death or divorce. In some cases, the advanced mahr is a token item such as a single coin, while the postponed mahr is a more substantial gift of money, jewelry, land, or other property.
Depending on the interpretation of Islamic law, a wife may be able to receive the postponed mahr in some divorce cases, while in others, the right to mahr may be forfeited. A husband has the right to dissolve his marriage through the talaq process, and in these circumstances, the wife will usually receive the postponed mahr. If the marriage is dissolved through a mutual agreement between the husband and wife, or khula, the wife will often forfeit the postponed mahr. If the wife seeks a divorce through the tafriq process based on grounds such as abuse or abandonment, she may forfeit her right to receive the postponed mahr.
Because the purposes of Islamic marriage contracts are not always understood by non-Muslims, courts sometimes struggle to determine how to enforce their terms. In many cases, mahr provisions are treated as prenuptial agreements, even though they have a very different purpose. When reviewing these provisions, courts will determine whether they meet the requirements for enforceability under Illinois law. An agreement may be invalidated if a court finds that the parties did not enter into a marriage contract voluntarily or if one party was coerced into agreeing to the other party’s terms. An agreement may also be invalid if it is unconscionable and grossly unfair to one party.
Contact Our DuPage County Islamic Divorce Attorneys
At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we have an understanding of both Illinois law and Shariah law, and we can ensure that they are followed correctly during an Islamic divorce. We will advise you of your rights related to mahr and other provisions of your marriage contract, and we will help you achieve a positive outcome that will provide you with the financial resources you need following your divorce. To get dedicated, knowledgeable legal help, contact our Oakbrook Terrace Islamic divorce lawyers by calling 630-909-9114.