Afghani v. Ghafoorian

The Court, in favor of the Wife, enforced the terms of a marriage contract, ordering the Husband to pay the Wife 514 gold coins.

Afghani v. Ghafoorian, 2010 WL 1189383 (Va.App. March 30, 2010) Court: Court of Appeals of Virginia, Alexandria

The Court, in favor of the Wife, enforced the terms of a marriage contract, ordering the Husband to pay the Wife 514 gold coins.

Husband and Wife were married in Iran. The “Deed of Marriage” signed in Iran had a provision in which the Husband agreed to pay the Wife 514 gold coins. The court deemed the 514 coins to be worth approximately $141,000 at current exchange rates.   The Wife sought to have the deed enforced.  The circuit court agreed with the Wife and ordered the Husband to pay the Wife 514 gold coins.

The Husband appealed the circuit court’s decision.On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision in favor of the Wife. The Husband argued that the circuit court erred for a number of reasons including lack of expert testimony as to the terms of the marriage contract, unconscionable nature of the contract, lack of qualifications of the Wife to testify as an expert on Islamic and Iranian law, and failure of the circuit court to follow the procedures for equitable distribution of marital assets.

The court dismissed all of the Husband’s arguments. Namely, the court stated that the Wife was not required to be qualified as an expert on Islamic or Iranian law, because she was testifying as a wife who was stating her expectations as to what she was owed from a contract. Also, the court stated that the circuit court was not required to follow the procedure for equitable distribution of marital assets because the 514 gold coins were not marital property but a part of a binding premarital contract entered by the parties. The Husband’s other arguments were dismissed because he failed to present the appellate court with a sufficient record of the basis for the circuit court’s ruling on those issues.

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