MIR v. BIRJANDI
C.A. Case Nos. 2006 CA 63, 2006 CA 71, 2006 CA 72
The parties were married in Iran in 1982. Both husband and wife worked but wife earned substantially more than husband. In 2004, husband files for divorce in Ohio. While the divorce was pending in Ohio, the wife obtains a divorce in Iran. A relevant fact worth noting is that husband was arrested in Iran for failing to pay his wife her outstanding mahr of $17,000. Wife files a motion to dismiss husband’s action based on the Court allegedly not having jurisdiction and on the existence of the Iranian divorce decree. Court overrules wife’s motion. The Trial Court conducts a hearing on the husband’s complaint for divorce and holds that the Iranian divorce decree was not binding upon the Ohio Court. The wife appeals this decision.
Was the Iranian divorce decree entitled to comity?
No. The Appellate Court affirmed the majority of the issues, including spousal support, property division and the return of the $17,000 mahr, based on the same reasons as the Trial Court. At the trial level, the Court held that the pending Ohio divorce was valid and controlling and adjudicated the matter in accordance to Ohio law, in which the husband was entitled to equitable distribution and spousal support. Additionally, the wife was required to refund the $17,000 mahr that the husband had paid her to be released from jail in Iran. It is important to note the court’s understanding of mahr: “In Iran, mahr is money paid to the bride by the groom or his family for the financial protection of the bride in the case of divorce.”