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Texas court rules on couple's disputed overseas divorce

Texas is and always has been home to a diverse immigrant population. When members of these communities -- or Texas natives who marry into them -- face family law challenges, difficult questions can arise. A recent Texas appeals court ruling provides an example of how our state's laws handle tough questions involving family law issues from overseas.

The case involved a man from Fort Worth who married a Pakistani woman in 2007. The marriage took place in Pakistan; the husband came home after a few months, and after going through the visa process, his wife joined him in 2009. But later that year, during a visit to Pakistan, he divorced her according to the laws of that country.

Both eventually returned to the United States, but in 2011 the wife made the unusual move of filing for divorce in Texas. She claimed in her petition that their overseas divorce was not valid here because the system in Pakistan was allegedly unfair and denied wives their due process. Recently, the State Court of Appeals ruled that their divorce was in fact valid under Texas law. The court's ruling goes into some depth, taking into account both international laws and a similar case in the United States in which a Pakistani divorce was not recognized.

Family legal issues in Texas involving arrangements that originated overseas, or those that cross borders (as in the cases of international adoption or child custody agreements), can prove both emotional to the families and challenging for the legal system. A family law professional is an important resource for those with questions or seeking an authoritative resolution to a dispute.

Source: The Washington Post, "Texas court of appeals recognizes Pakistani Islamic divorce," Eugene Volokh, April 30, 2015

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