Maryland appeals court rules Islamic divorce practice constitutionally invalid

[JURIST] The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled [opinion, text] that the Islamic talaq [IRFI backgrounder], a controversial practice under which a husband can divorce his wife without her say, violates the state constitution [text] and therefore does not constitute a valid form of divorce in Maryland. The Court held Tuesday that talaq was against Maryland constitutional provisions granting equal rights to men and women, finding that:

Talaq lacks any significant "due process" for the wife, and its use moreover, directly deprives the wife of the "due process" she is entitled to when she initiates divorce litigation in this State. The lack and deprivation of due process is itself contrary to this State's public policy.
The judgment affirms a 2007 ruling [text] by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals [official website] that held talaq to be invalid in Maryland.

After his wife filed for divorce in 2003 and before the legal process was complete, Irfan Aleem went to the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC and invoked talaq, effectively an attempt to turn jurisdiction over to a court in Pakistan. He was later granted a divorce by the Pakistani court, but Tuesday's ruling found that divorce invalid. The Washington Post has more. The Baltimore Sun has local coverage.

 

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