Michigan COA Rejects Foreign Divorce Entered Without Due Process | Speaker Law
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Michigan COA Rejects Foreign Divorce Entered Without Due Process

Posted on Monday, May 14, 2018

The Court of Appeals reversed a Michigan trial court's decision to recognize a foreign divorce in Tarikonda v Pinjari (unpublished decision). In that case, the parties are Muslim citizens of India who married in India, then moved to Michigan. The parties had one child, and when they separated, the wife stayed in Michigan with their son while the husband moved to New Jersey. At some point, the husband went to India and obtained a divorce under the Muslim personal law through the procedure known as the "triple talaq." Under Muslim law, a husband may summarily divorce his wife by pronouncing language such as, "I divorce thee," three times.


The month following the triple talaq divorce, the wife filed for divorce in Michigan. The husband moved to dismiss the complaint based on the existing divorce judgment from India. He presented a divorce certificate from India. The trial court dismissed the wife's divorce complaint, and instructed her to register the Indian divorce in Michigan and file a separate complaint for custody and child support.


The Court of Appeals held that the triple talaq violated the wife's constitutional rights and refused to affirm the trial court's recognition of the foreign divorce judgment because the wife did not have prior notice of the husband's pronouncement of the triple talaq, she was not represented by an attorney and had no right to be present at the pronouncement, and there was no opportunity to be heard on the merits.

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