Contemporary Primary Sources: Taffa & Taffa [2009] FamCA 85

The parties, of Lebanese background, were married in Kuwait in 1973, though had moved to Australia in 1985 and maintained dual citizenship. In October 1998 the parties divorced Islamically through a local Islamic centre, then in November 1998 attended the Lebanese embassy and executed a power of attorney to allow their respective lawyers in Lebanon to proceed with the divorce application (and bypass the Australian legal system). These proceedings were not possible in Australia due to the maintenance of a mandatory one year separation period before divorces are granted. The divorce was subsequently granted in November 1998 in the Jaafarite Canonical Court in Lebanon, with the decree that neither party had rights or obligations towards the other. The husband subsequently remarried.

The wife appealed subsequently applied for a divorce in the Australian courts under s 104(4) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), stating that this outcome was a denial of natural justice.

The case stemmed on the recognition of the Lebanese divorce on the grounds that the parties had no ‘property of consequence’ in Australia (it was in Lebanon, where the wife had initiated court proceedings against the husband) and that the parties sought to bypass Australian law.

This case was unsuccessfully appealed by the applicant in Taffa & Taffa [2012] FamCA 181.

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