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Aziz v. Aziz

Aziz v. Aziz, 127 Misc. 2d 1013; 488 N.Y.S.2d 123 (1985) Court: Supreme Court of New York, Special Term, Queens County

The court, in favor of the Wife, enforced the terms of a mahr agreement that conformed to New York contracts law.

Husband and Wife were married in 1981 in the U.S.. The marriage certificate included a “mahr” (dowry) agreement of $5,032 ($32 immediate payment and $5,000 postponed payment). In 1984, divorce was granted to the Wife on the ground of constructive abandonment. Husband argued that the mahr is a religious document and is not enforceable as a contract in a matrimonial action.  The Wife argued that the mahr is enforceable.

The court found that the mahr document conformed to the requirements of New York contracts law and its secular terms are enforceable. It did not matter that the contract was entered into as a part of a religious ceremony. The court granted judgment to the Wife against the Husband for $5,000 and awarded an additional $2,050 for legal counsel fees.

Note: Cited in Florida case, Akileh v. Elchahal, 666 So. 2d 246 at 248 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1996), in support of the enforcement of religious antenuptial agreements in a court of law.

Note: Cited in Habibi-Fahnrich v. Fahnrich, No. 46186/93; 1995 WL 507388 (1995) (“a religious agreement may be enforceable if it conforms to the requirements of the Statute of Frauds”)

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