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Austin TX Family Law Blog

Monday, April 25, 2016

Complex $100 million International Divorce Plays Out in Houston Court

Some divorces are relatively straightforward. Others are not -- as evidenced by an ongoing bitter divorce battle in Houston. Pakistani natives -- who are residents of Harris County, Texas -- are seeking a divorce of their five-year marriage. The problem is that the couple cannot agree on whether Texas or Pakistani laws should govern the dissolution -- and the implications for the wife are dire to say the least.

Under Pakistani divorce laws, which are derived heavily from the traditional laws governing Islam and the dissolution of Islamic marriages, a husband is considered legally unwed from his wife by repeating “I divorce you” three times in succession. From there, the husband owes the wife a pittance -- reportedly as little as $50.00 -- and is free to be on his way. Understandably, the wife in this situation would prefer to work out the details of the divorce according to Texas custom and statutes -- which would leave the wife a bit more than $50.00 considering the husband's assets are an estimated $100 million.

Currently, the parties are engaging in a strenuous battle over jurisdiction, and the merits of the divorce case have yet to be examined. Naturally, the husband’s counsel is arguing that since the marriage was solemnified in Pakistan, the divorce should be similarly handled. However, the wife is relying on the basic principle that once residency is established in Texas, the parties are free to seek divorce there.

Under Texas laws the court would divide the parties’ lavish assets in an equitable manner. However, according to the details of the couple’s pre-marital contract, the husband must only pay the wife a paltry $50.00 if the union doesn’t work out. Notwithstanding, if the facts show that the wife has very little earning potential or could be left destitute by her soon-to-be-ex-husband, the court will undoubtedly ensure that assets are split such that she receives a fair and adequate amount congruent with her contributions to the marriage. In other words, that type of premarital agreement would undoubtedly be nullified as unconscionably unfair in the eyes of the court.

If you would are considering divorce and would like to discuss your options, be sure to contact a reputable and skilled family law attorney.

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