Islamic Law in U.S. Courts: Ahmed v. Ahmed (Tex. App. 2008): Deferred Dowry Claim

The Texas Court of Appeals reversed a state district court’s decision to uphold an Islamic marriage contract that awarded the wife a deferred dowry (mahr), an amount agreed upon at the time of marriage and due to the wife from the husband or his estate upon death or divorce, of $50,000. The district court had concluded that the amount was due pursuant to a marital contract made by the parties “in contemplation of a forthcoming marriage,” constituting “a valid, binding, and enforceable contract under Sections 4.001-003 of the Texas Family Code.” The appellate court reversed and remanded to the lower court, concluding that the agreement was not a valid premarital contract under the state law, defined as “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage,” because the religious wedding ceremony occurred before the contract was signed. As the contract fell outside of the definition of premarital contract, the Court concluded that it could not be enforced like one.

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