AHMED v. AHMED
261 S.W.3d 190 (2008)

FACTS
The parties were married in a civil ceremony in November 1999.  In May 2000, they were married under Islamic law and executed a Marriage Contract that included a deferred mahr payment of $50,000.  The parties divorced and the Trial Court awarded the wife $50,000 as liquidated contract damages, as it construed the mahr to be a valid, binding and enforceable premarital agreement under Texas law.

ISSUE
Whether the mahr agreement should be construed as a premarital contract where the parties had been married in a civil ceremony six months prior to  signing the mahr agreement at the Islamic marriage ceremony.

RULING
The Appellate Court reversed, holding that “Because the parties participated in a valid civil wedding ceremony six months before signing the Mahr agreement, they were already spouses, not ‘prospective spouses,’ and their agreement could not have been made “in contemplation of marriage.”  Thus, the Trial Court erred in enforcing the Mahr agreement as a premarital agreement.”

In the alternative, wife argued that the mahr agreement should be enforceable as a post-marital agreement.  While the Appellate Court recognized that the mahr agreement was sufficiently specific in this case so as to be a legally binding contract,  it was unable to conclude whether the mahr agreement could constitute a valid post-marital agreement under Texas law because evidence was lacking to prove other statutory requirements. Specifically, partition and exchange agreements require an intent to convert community property into separate property and the record was devoid of any evidence that the parties intended the mahr agreement to operate in such manner.  Despite its findings, the Court reversed the $50,000 award that had gone to the wife and remanded the matter, which would allow the wife another opportunity to prove that the mahr agreement is an enforceable marriage contract on grounds other than as a premarital agreement.

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2 responses to “

  1. Pingback: Zawahiri v. Alwattar: Is a Muslim Marriage Contract a prenup or a simple contract? | SHARIA INDEX

  2. Pingback: Zawahiri v. Alwattar: Is a Muslim Marriage Contract a prenup or a simple contract? | SHARIA IN AMERICA

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