AQEL v. AQEL
The parties married on September 30, 1996 in Kentucky but the marriage was annulled on January 21, 1997 because the husband was still legally married in Jordan to another woman, Amani. Husband filed for divorce in Jordan and was granted a three-month revocable divorce decree on May 13, 1997. The three-month period, or “idaa,” would allow the husband to revoke the divorce if he chose to stay married to Amani.
On June 7, 1997, husband and wife remarried. On December 21, 2001, wife petitioned to annul the marriage. Wife argued that her husband was still married to Amani because wife and husband remarried before the idaa period was over. In contract, the husband argued that he was divorced from Amani when he remarried wife because he did not resume marriage with Amani during the idaa period and the divorce was effective as of the date of filing and not at the end of the idaa period. The Trial Court ruled in favor of the husband, finding that the husband and Amani were divorced as of May 13, 1997 and therefore, the marriage between the husband and the wife was valid. The wife appealed this decision.
Whether a divorce is final where the husband remarries prior to the idaa period ending and does not resume marriage with his ex-wife.
The Appellate Court affirmed the Trial Court’s decision. The Court based its decision on evidence presented at the trial level and on case law. The Court found that there was “substantial evidence” provided by the husband and the husband’s expert witness to substantiate the trial court’s decision.
Moreover, in making its determination, the Court looked to the Matter of Hassan (11 I. & N. Dec. 179 (BIA)) because it addressed the same issue regarding the validity of a revocable divorce. In Hassan, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruled that the divorce was effective on the date that the revocable divorce decree was granted because Hassan had not resumed the marriage with his ex-wife. In the present case, since the husband did not take Amani back as his wife during the idaa period, the divorce was effective May 13, 1997, the date the revocable divorce decree was granted. Therefore, the marriage between the husband and the wife was valid.