No. 6-09-01

Parties were married in 1993 in Jordan. Around 2007, husband travelled to Jordan and filed for divorce. Shortly thereafter, wife was issued a document of a revocable divorce by proxy by the Sharia Court in Amman. According to the terms of the divorce and the laws of Jordan, the divorce was revocable during a three (3) month waiting period. In addition to the divorce action, the husband placed immigration holds on the passports of their minor children, prohibiting them from returning to the United States. At the time, both parties were in Jordan with the kids. In January 2008, wife filed a complaint to establish custody and to divide marital assets in Ohio and filed an amended complaint for divorce.

Is the Jordanian divorce decree valid?

The magistrate conducted a jurisdictional hearing and held that the Jordanian divorce was valid and dismissed the wife’s amended complaint for divorce. Several weeks later, the Trial Court adopted the magistrate’s decision, and dismissed the case with prejudice. The magistrate found that all related issues, such as custody, child support, visitation, alimony and dowry had been resolved by the Jordanian divorce proceeding, and that there was no other issue for the Court to take jurisdiction to decide.

The wife appeals and the Appellate Court affirms the Trial Court’s dismissal of the wife’s amended complaint on a simple, technical ground stating that Ohio procedure requires objection to a magistrate’s decision within a time certain and failure to do so is fatal.