Islamic marriage contracts and divorce in British Columbia

On behalf of Peterson Stark Scott posted in Divorce on January 15, 2019.

The breakdown of marriages affects people of various customs and religious backgrounds in different ways. When it comes to those of the Islamic faith in British Columbia and the issue of divorce, things can get even more difficult when religious-based marriage contracts are part of the scenario. It has been challenging for lawyers as well as for the courts.

A maher is a traditional Islamic marriage contract. When a couple of that faith decides to divorce in Canada, it is pretty much the same — considerations are given to issues like spousal and child support and custody. But when a couples marries with these contracts in place and there are specific agreements regarding things like assets contained within them, a family court judge has to decide on their validity. In one such instance, the maher of an Islamic couple in British Columbia said that in the event the couple should divorce, the husband had to give his wife a kilogram of gold. The judge ruled that the contract was valid and ordered the man to his spouse $56,498.62 which was the value of that amount of gold at the time.

That is not to say another judge would have made the same decision since these contracts aren’t always matter-of-fact. The question has arisen whether these religious contracts should be enforced at all. These contracts can get very involved with much at stake like property, gold and other very extravagant things. The courts are having a difficult time understanding the concept of a maher.

When there are confusing aspects to a divorce situation in British Columbia, the first place to go for advice might be to a family law lawyer. He or she could offer some guidance in confusing situations. Religious marriage contracts could pose this type of confusion in a system which is unfamiliar with them and a lawyer may be able to help sort it out.

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