Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr cases involve the interpretation, enforcement or variation of Iranian or Persian Islamic marriage contracts. In today’s blog Iranian and Farsi fluent family lawyer Rana Yavari explains how these Persian Iranian international divorce Mahr marriage contracts from Iran are interpreted in BC courts.
“Mahr” has traditionally been known as an Islamic marriage contract. According to the terms of the agreement/contract, the husband agrees and undertakes to pay an agreed sum of money by way of “Mahr” to the wife. While the Mahr is often money, it can also be agreed upon the bride such as jewelry or some land.
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There are many divorce/separation cases where the parties got married in their home country and followed their marriage traditions. Our law has continued to evolve in a manner which acknowledges cultural diversity. Attempts are made to be respectful of traditions which define various groups who live in a multi-cultural community. BC courts deal with a surprising number of Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr cases. The amount of the Mahr can impact support and property division under the Divorce Act and Family Law Act.
In Kariminia v. Nasser, 2018 BCSC 695 (“Kariminia”), the parties married in Iran. A Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr marriage contract was entered and signed by both parties, which provided that the husband was obliged to pay the wife 114 Bahar Azadi gold coins if requested. The parties separated in BC and the wife brought an application seeking a compensation payment from husband following the marriage contract entered into in Iran.
The Court in Kariminia upheld the marriage contract formed as it was signed by both parties and the contract was not unfair:
26 Courts in British Columbia and Ontario have found that contracts for Maher are enforceable where the evidence established that they met the definition of “marriage agreement” in the applicable family law legislation.
27 As noted in Nathoo v. Nathoo,  B.C.J. No. 2720 (B.C. S.C.) at para. 25:
 …. Nothing in the evidence before me satisfies me that it would be unfair to uphold the provisions of an agreement entered into by these parties in contemplation of their marriage, which agreement specifically provides that it does not oust the provisions of the applicable law.
28 Given that the Iranian Marriage Contract in this case was signed in 1994, the provisions of the Family Relations Act, RSBC 1996, c. 128 [FRA] apply to issues involving the enforcement of marriage agreements, per s. 252(2)(a) of the Family Law Act, S.B.C. 2011, c. 25 [FLA].
29 The FRA, in s. 61(2) defined a “marriage agreement” as
. . . an agreement entered into by 2 people before or during their marriage to each other to take effect on the date of their marriage or on the execution of the agreement, whichever is later, for
. . .
(b) ownership in, or division of, family assets or other property during marriage, or on the making of an order for dissolution of marriage, judicial separation or a declaration of nullity of marriage.
30 I find that the Marriage Contract should be upheld. It plainly states that “one hundred and fourteen full Bahar Azadi gold coins in the liability to his wife payable on her demand” is the “marriage portion”, and is signed by both parties. The contract is not unfair, and the respondent is entitled to judgment against the claimant for the amount of $49,020 on the account of Maher.
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Mahr does not replace a woman’s claim for spousal support, child support, and the calculation of net family property. A woman is entitled to these in addition to her mahr. If you have a Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr question call our fluent Frasi speaking Persian Family Lawyer Rana Yavari.