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Does Texas recognize divorces granted in foreign countries?

In many cases, yes, the state of Texas does recognize divorces that were granted in Canada, England and Mexico under the doctrine of “comity.” But what about divorces that were granted in countries where the law is inherently different than the laws of Texas?

This issue was recently addressed by a Texas Court of Appeals panel, which held that a Pakistani divorce should be recognized under Texas law. The case involved a Pakistan couple who reside in Texas, but the husband sought a divorce in Pakistan in 2009. 

In 2011, the wife petitioned for divorce in Texas, saying that the Pakistani divorce should not be recognized in Texas because it was unfair to her as a woman and did not provide her with due process rights, the Washington Post reported.

However, the court determined that Pakistani divorce law did provide the minimum due process that is required to recognize a foreign divorce decree. The court also noted how the wife accepted the “maher,” which is “a fixed dowry payment upon divorce” that prohibits her from contesting the divorce under Pakistani law.

It’s also important to point out that the couple’s marital property appears to have been split under Texas’ laws as a post-divorce division of assets matter, so that was not an issue in the case.

This case importantly points out that the divorce judgments of other companies are often recognized by Texas courts, though not always. That means a Texas court may be willing to enforce a foreign divorce order, such as when one party is not paying alimony that is owed to the other party.

In order to find out if your foreign divorce decree will be honored in Texas, it’s important to contact an experienced family law attorney for advice.

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