Not too long ago a news article by Jake Reiner caught my attention on Facebook, “High-profile $100 million divorce case plays out in Houston court.” Out of curiously I clicked on the article.
The case involved a Husband and Wife battling it out in the 312TH Judicial District Court in Harris County, Texas. Twist in the case is that they are citizens of Pakistan and may already be divorced under Pakistan law. In Pakistan a Husband can divorce his wife simply by saying “I Divorce You” three times. This according to the article is called “Talaq” in Islam. In this case while in Pakistan the Husband divorced his wife then they both moved to Houston. His wife then sued him in Houston for divorce.
The relevant question then becomes what impact does a Pakistan divorce have on the current Divorce Proceedings in Houston. Wanting to know more I decided to look up the divorce with the Harris County, District Clerk.
In reviewing the filings on the district clerk website the Husband had filed to register foreign Pakistan divorce Judgment and that filing had ended up in the 245TH Judicial District Court in Harris, County while the wife’s Divorce action was ongoing the 312Th. In the husband case the husband is asking the Court to recognize the Pakistan Divorce. The wife filed asking the court to deny the relief requested by the husband as well as to transfer the matter to the 312th where here case was ongoing.
In the wife’s case filed on June 25, 2015 she is asking the 312th District Court for a divorce. Her basis is that she meets the residency requirements. Her divorce pleadings also ask the court to find the divorce in Pakistan to be voice because she was not provided with proper notice.
The issue regarding the validity of an Islamic divorce from another county reminded me a case that was discussed at an Advanced Family Law Seminar I attended in San Antonio in August of 2015. The case was Ashfaq v Ashfaq, 2015 Tex. App. Lexis 4305 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Distr.] April 28, 2015 (Cause No. 01-14-00329-CV).
The Asfaq case also involved an Islamic Divorce out of Pakistan. Husband and Wife were married in late 2009. Eight days later the Husband decided to divorce his wife by performing the Talaq he notified the Union Counsel in Pakistan and had a decree of divorce delivered to the wife’s brother who acknowledged receipt. The Wife then returned to the United States.
Husband married another women and moved to Fort Worth, Texas and lived with her there. Wife then filed for divorce in in Harris County in October of 2011. Husband responded and asked that the case be dismissed on the basis that the parties were already divorced in Pakistan in 2009. In trial expert testimony was given that Husband had met all the requirements of a Pakistan Divorce. It was ruled by the 246TH District Court in Houston that Husband had met all the requirements of a divorce and that portion of the suit was dismissed. However, the 246TH District Court also ruled that the couple’s property should still be divided and should be treated as a post-divorce division of property.
The Court of Appeals upheld the 246TH Judicial district Courts ruling. The Court of Appeals made specific note that the wife had received proper notice in Pakistan of the Divorce. In the current case ongoing in the 312th one of the things that has been alleged is that the wife did not receive proper notice. However, if the 312th follows the ruling of the 246th even if the there is a valid divorce under Pakistan law the wife may be entitled to a post-dissolution of property.
The Spring, TX divorce Lawyers at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will help equip you with the information you need so that you are prepared and know what to expect with regard to divorce involving a foreign divorce decree.
For more information regarding a divorce involving a foreign decre in Harris County, Montgomery County, in Spring or Houston Texas Call (281) 810-9760 today for your free consultation.
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