Thursday, 25 October 2012

Marriage, Mansions and Mayhem

Today’s Telegraph  features a story about Maha Shagroon, an extremely wealthy divorcee’s claims that her former husband has failed to maintain her to the standard to which she had become accustomed. Her complaints appear to centre on his failure to pay the salaries of the household staff based at their £5m Regents Park home, and his failure to maintain their fleet of cars.

Whilst such tales of the super wealthy bear little resemblance to the lives of most of us mere mortals, an important part of the couple’s dispute could impact on many. In happier times the couple went through an Islamic marriage ceremony presided over by an imam in London. According to the article they were divorced in 2002 by the husband pronouncing Talaq (the Islamic divorce). The Husband is now arguing that their marriage is invalid as he had already had an Islamic marriage abroad, and as a result their divorce is invalid, and therefore the court has no authority to make a decision about their finances.

This is a fairly technical area of law, but it is becoming more common for couples to marry abroad, and also to go through different types of marriage ceremony. If such ceremonies do not comply with the necessary legal formalities that marriage may well be void or invalid. As a result there can be no divorce, and no divorce means no divorce settlement!

An overseas divorce can be a complicating factor, although it is still possible to make a claim for financial relief from your ex-spouse in England even if you already have a divorce and/or a financial order from another country.

If any of the issues above affect you or you are concerned about the effects of an international marriage or divorce it is recommended that you obtain advice from a specialist solicitor. We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts

Katy Stirling, Solicitor

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