Chaudry v. Chaudry

The Court, in favor of the Husband, recognized a talaq validated by a Pakistani court and denied spousal support to the Wife.

Chaudry v. Chaudry, 159 N.J. Super. 566; 388 A.2d 1000 (N.J. Super. Ct. 1978) Court: Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

Husband and Wife, both Pakistani, were married in Pakistan in 1961. From 1963 to 1968, the couple and their two daughters lived in the U.S., two years in New Jersey. In 1968, the Wife and the two children returned to Pakistan. In 1970, the Husband joined them in Pakistan, but came back to New Jersey in 1971 when he received a job at a hospital. He returned to Pakistan for four weeks in 1972. The couple’s third child was born in 1973. He was away from Pakistan from 1972 to 1975.

In 1973, the Husband sent a letter from New Jersey to his wife in Pakistan stating that he had filed divorce papers with the Pakistan consulate in New York City. He sent her a copy of the “talaq” (divorce pronouncement or deed). The divorce was held valid by a Pakistani lower court in 1974 and an appellate court, and after the time for appeal to the highest court ran out, the divorce judgment became final on December 1975. In March 1975, the Wife filed suit in New Jersey. The trial court accepted the Wife’s testimony that she and the children returned to Pakistan in 1968 with the intent of living with her husband, and that the Husband kept her and the children from coming to live in the U.S. The trial court awarded the Wife spousal support but denied her child support.

The Husband appealed the trial court’s decision. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision and denied spousal support to the Wife. The court took notice of the fact that the divorce had been confirmed by a Pakistani court, and after appeal by the Wife, had been affirmed by an appellate court. The Wife had been represented in both proceedings. Both the Husband and Wife were citizens of Pakistan, the Wife lived there, and the Pakistani courts had jurisdiction to enter a divorce in this case. Because the Pakistani court’s judgment of divorce should have been recognized, the Husband and Wife were already divorced when the trial court in New Jersey awarded the Wife spousal support. The court also stated that enforcing the Pakistani divorce out of comity was not contrary to New Jersey’s public policy, because there was not an adequate nexus of marriage between the couple to New Jersey.

History: This case was appealed and review was denied by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Note: This ruling was distinguished in Maryland case, Aleem v. Aleem, 931 A.2d 1123 at 1131. In that case, the court did not apply Pakistani Law, because there was no ruling by a Pakistani court and the couple had lived in Maryland for over twenty years.

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