Badawi v. Alesawy
Posted on March 16, 2016
The case of the day is Badawi v. Alesawy (N.Y. App. Div. 2016). This is the appeal of the case of the day from October 23, 2012. The parties were married civilly in New York in 1998, and they had an Islamic wedding ceremony thereafter. As part of the religious ceremony, they signed a mahr agreement that required the husband to make an advance payment to the wife of $5,000, with deferred payment of $250,000 in case of divorce. While living in Abu Dhabi, the wife obtained a divorce, custody of the children, and a judgment for the $250,000 payment due under the mahr. She then sought recognition and enforcement of the Abu Dhabi judgment in New York insofar as it related to the payment due under the mahr. The Supreme Court recognized the judgment, and the husband appealed.
The Appellate Division affirmed. Comity required recognition unless there was a strong public policy to the contrary or a showing of fraud. There was no strong public policy against a judgment enforcing a mahr even though the Islamic prenuptial agreement had not been acknowledged, as New York law apparently requires for domestic prenuptial agreements.