Aleem v. Aleem

The Court, in favor of the Wife, held that a talaq divorce obtained in accordance to Pakistani law could not be enforced by comity because it was so contrary to Maryland public policy.

Aleem v. Aleem, 931 A.2d 1123; 175 Md. App. 663 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2006) Court: Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

Husband and Wife, of Pakistani descent, were married in Pakistan. The couple moved to the U.S. and have had been living in Maryland for over twenty years when the Wife sought a limited divorce. The court ordered the Husband to leave the family home and to pay for child support. Few months later, the Wife amended the complaint to request an absolute divorce. Before the Wife amended her complaint, the Husband presented himself at the Pakistani embassy in Washington D.C. and performed a “talaq” (divorce) in accordance with Pakistani law, including pronouncement of talaq, notice in writing, and supplying the wife with a copy of the notice. The Husband then requested that the Wife’s claim for divorce be dismissed. The Husband’s expert witness testified that under Pakistani law, the wife had no rights to property in her husband’s name. The Husband went through three trials, at the end of which the court granted the Wife a divorce and ordered that the Husband pay 50% of payments from his retirement plan to the Wife. While Husband wanted the court grant comity to the Pakistani divorce, the court refused.

The Husband appealed the lower court’s decision. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decisions and found that because Pakistani law was so contrary to Maryland public policy, no comity would be granted to the Pakistani divorce. The court pointed to the stark difference of “the default under Pakistani law is that the Wife had no right to property titled in Husband’s name, while the default under Maryland law is that the wife has marital property rights in property titled in the husband’s name.”

History: The Husband sought review. The Court of Appeals of Maryland affirmed the lower courts’ decision in favor of the Wife. The court affirmed the ruling that enforcing a foreign talaq divorce, where only the husband had the right to utilize it and the wife lacked significant due process, was contrary to Maryland public policy.

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