Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr Lawyers deal with divorce and separation cases involve the interpretation, enforcement, or variation of Iranian and Persian Islamic marriage contracts. BC court decisions on Persian Mahr contracts and Iranian Mahr contracts have varied greatly on the question of whether such religious-based contracts can be enforced in the context of family law. Rana Yavari provides her best Persian Iranian International divorce Mahr lawyers tips in this blog. Our high net worth family lawyers serve the Persian community in West and North Vancouver as well as Coal Harbour.
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BC Courts may cancel or void Persian Iranian Mahr contracts due to the following factors explains Rana Yavari of our team of Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr Lawyers:
- It is significantly unfair to pay it as the family’s total assets may be worth less than the amount of Mahr;
- The Mahr contract was negotiated shortly before marriage and therefore not enough thought or negotiation took place before the signing of Mahr;
- The parties did not seek independent legal advice;
- The parties never intended to enforce the marriage contract; and
- The contract was negotiated between the parents and not the parties and is therefore not binding.
In Mohammadi v. Mohammadi, 2016 BCSC 1873 (“Mohammadi”) the parties were married in 1999 in Iran. The wife was seeking to enforce the dowry provision in her marriage contract which provided as follows:
A volume of Holy Koran, a pane of mirror, a pair of candleholders, which are all submitted to the Wife and she admitted receipt, plus 700 Full Bahar Azadi Gold Coins, being the husband’s liability and payable to the Wife upon her demand. “Signed by the two spouses.”
According to the wife, the value of the 700 gold coins referenced in the marriage portion was approximately $276,000. The wife described the dowry as both a contract between the families and a contract just between the parties. She testified that she never claimed this amount and did not plan to claim it in Iran, but at the same time she never gave up her right to claim it. The husband testified that the marriage portion of the marriage certificate was purely symbolic, he never had the equivalent of 700 gold coins and that number was based on a numeric calculation of the wife’ name. The husband submitted that the wife had agreed not to seek her dowry in Iran and that she should not be able to so in BC.
Top Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr Lawyers Tips
Our top Persian Iranian International Divorce Mahr Lawyers note that the Court in Mohammadi did not enforce the Iranian marriage contract on the basis that the parties never intended to enforce the marriage agreement and if they did, it would not have been a fair agreement:
 Similar claims to enforce provisions of these kinds of marriage documents have been accepted in BC where the evidence established that they met the definition of “marriage agreement” in the former Family Relations Act, RSBC 1996, c. 128. Given that the Iranian marriage certificate in this case was signed in 1999, the provisions of the Family Relations Act apply to issues involving the enforcement of marriage agreements.
 The Family Relations Act, 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.
 Even if the dowry is a valid marriage agreement under the Family Relations Act, it is subject to being set aside if the court determines it to be unfair, a less stringent standard than that under the Family Law Act. In this case, the amount claimed is quite substantial.
 The evidence here is far from clear. No expert evidence was adduced about the traditions of dowry or its enforceability in Iran. The marriage portion of the document does not refer to separation but simply states that the 700 gold coins are “the husband’s liability and payable to the Wife upon her demand”. Neither the respondent nor the claimant testified that the dowry was payable in the event of separation but they agreed that it had to be paid or waived if they wanted to register their Iranian divorce.
 In N.M.M., the husband believed that the maher was symbolic only, but he also understood that by signing the document he undertook to pay the amount specified to his wife in the event of a marriage breakdown. Here, the claimant believed that the dowry of 700 gold coins was purely symbolic and that the respondent never intended to enforce it. In the context of these parties, the claimant’s evidence about this makes sense. The respondent confirmed that she never claimed the dowry until this litigation and was not planning to claim it in Iran. Moreover, at the time of this marriage, the claimant was not a wealthy man. I find it difficult to accept that he would have undertaken to be liable for such a large dowry that he had no ability to pay had he understood that the respondent intended to claim it from him.
 In my view, the evidence falls short of establishing that the marriage portion in the February 1999 Iranian marriage certificate constitutes a binding agreement that is enforceable as a marriage agreement under the Family Relations Act. The evidence shows that the parties never intended to enforce the dowry of 700 gold coins, and even if they did, it would not have been a fair agreement given the substantial amount involved and the claimant’s limited financial resources, both at the time of the marriage and presently.
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