Humanitarian Reinstatement Of I-130 Petitions

Question: My mother who is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S, petitioned both my brother and sister who are living in the Philippines eight years ago. We received a notice recently from the National Visa Center stating that we have to pay the Affidavit of Support, (AOS) fees which are something like $800. I was ready to pay this amount when suddenly my mother died. I was told that this may affect the petitions of my siblings. Is this true?

What can I do? Should I pay the $800 to the NVC? What happens to the petitions now that my mother died? Can I be substituted as a sponsor for them instead? One Attorney in Los Angeles said that he can fix this case but he wants $20,000. What should I do?

Answer: Though we always think that once a petition has been filed for us by our relatives in the US, there are only very minor roadblocks we can expect along the way. This is the case most especially if the petition has approved and has been forwarded to the National Visa Center waiting for priority date. Nothing else should worry us and we can just go on living while the priority date becomes current. Or so we think.

Unfortunately, there are cases wherein the petitioner dies before his relatives can come to the U.S. This is often due to the fact that US immigration process has a huge backlog in most countries and that it takes years before a visa becomes available for an applicant. During this long wait, if the Petitioner dies, the petition by law is automatically invalidated and cancelled. A lot of beneficiaries of US immigration petitions, like you, are saddened and surprised that the petition for their loved ones is no longer valid once the petitioner dies. So, if the petitioner dies before the beneficiaries enter the U.S. as immigrants, the case is over.

There is NO need to pay the NVC any fees because 1) the fees will not be refunded, 2)the U.S. Embassy will no longer process the application once it learns that the Petitioner died. The Embassy will instead, send the petition back to the USCIS office that originally approved it back in the states.

In most cases, that is the end of the line. The beneficiaries, even though they waited patiently for years and years can no longer come to the U.S. You cannot step into the shoes of the petitioner and be a substitute sponsor. However, there is a way to appeal this revocation of the petition. The process is called a Request for Humanitarian Reinstatement or also called Request for Humanitarian Revalidation. Humanitarian Reinstatement was made available by immigration regulations to cover these kinds of situations. It is entirely discretionary with the USCIS and is not guaranteed, but if you can show that there are circumstances justifying the reinstatement of the petition, the USCIS can revalidate and approve the petition and the beneficiaries can come to the U.S. as if the petitioner were still alive. The USCIS usually looks at the following factors: 1) disruption of an established family unit; (2) hardship to U.S. citizen or LPR family; (3) age and health of beneficiary; (4) length of beneficiarys residence if any in the United States; (5) whether beneficiary has a foreign residence (if in the U.S.) to which he can return; (6) undue delay by USCIS or the embassy in processing the petition or visa; and (7) extent of beneficiarys family ties in the United States.

For a Humanitarian Reinstatement to be applicable, the petition must have first been approved before the death the petitioner. Secondly, the beneficiary must arrange to have a substitute sponsor who may file for the required affidavit of support. This must be someone who can establish the means to support the beneficiaries with an annual income amount equal to at least 125 percent of the Federal Poverty line.

The qualified substitute sponsor must be a close relative such as the spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child (if at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, grandchild of a sponsored alien or a legal guardian of the sponsored alien. Friends and distant relatives cannot qualify.

As far as paying an attorney $20,000 for submitting a request for reinstatement, I would question any lawyer who charges such exorbitant fees. Would you pay $1000 for a $1 lottery ticket without a guarantee of winning? Sure, there is a lot of work involved but there is no need to gouge or take advantage of persons who are suffering the loss of a loved one. I, for one, do not practice law that way. I would be weary of anyone who says it is a sure thing or I guarantee it. By law, reinstatement is discretionary. No one, can say if a request will be approved and it is unethical to claim it is a sure thing. Stay away from such boastful claims. You will be $20,000 richer and a lot happier.

Us Immigration And Business Law E2 Visas And Company Incorporation

This article will attempt to provide some brief insight into the E2 visa process and how it interacts with the process of incorporating an LLC in the United States of America.

The E2 visa is an employment based visa that provides the bearer with the opportunity to live and work in the United States in order to oversee and administer an investment in a trade or business enterprise. Those seeking an E2 visa are well advised to research the category thoroughly before making irrevocable decisions as the E2 visa’s issuance is predicated upon statutory language as well as various executive regulations and policies. Denial of an E2 visa application could prove costly in terms of time as well as resources.

Many who consider the possibility of an E2 visa find that an American Immigration attorney can prove very helpful by providing insight into the process and assistance in filling out relevant forms and compiling supporting documentation in an effort to ensure fast and efficient processing of either the petition submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) or the visa application which is likely to be submitted to a United States Embassy or United States Consulate abroad. Those individuals who are already in the US and wish to change their visa status to the E-2 category will need to submit a petition to USCIS. More commonly, those living abroad wishing to travel to the US on an E2 visa should submit their visa application to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

US company registration can be an important issue for people thinking about submitting an application for an E-2 visa. Unlike many jurisdictions in Asia, registration of a limited liability company in the United States is usually quite a smooth process for those who retain the services of an attorney trained in American corporate law. Those looking for information about an E-2 visa should note that the need for the visa ought to spring from a real business imperative. In short, the business incorporation should not be conducted as a pretext in an effort to simply obtain immigration benefits. The business concern that underlies the visa application should be bona fide and comport to certain rules and regulations. These rules and regulations come into play when a Consular Officer at a US Post abroad makes an adjudication based upon the merits of the E2 visa application.

The US visa process can be convoluted and cumbersome for those who do not understand U.S. Immigration law. Thus, assistance of experienced counsel is generally recommended in immigration matters especially where company registration plays a key role in the visa application process.

Obtaining Employment Immigration Visas To Work In The United States

If you are moving to America from a different country, you will need an employment immigration visa in order to work legally in the country. People who are not American citizens or legally permanent residents must obtain these visas, to work here. The process can be quite complicated if you are not already familiar with it. Hiring an employment immigration attorney can help greatly throughout this process if you want to work in the US on a temporary basis.

If you want to work temporarily in America, you will need a visa that is specific to your line or work and the purpose for your travel to the United States. To obtain this necessary document, you must meet a number of requirements within employment immigration law in the United States. Your employer is also required to file a petition to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services on your behalf. If you are seeking permanent residency in the U.S., you will need to obtain a green card. This document will authorize you to work and live permanently in the country.

Obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is necessary to prove that you are eligible to work in America. This card is valuable for one year, and it can be renewable. Students and exchange visitors may also be allowed to work in the United States under certain circumstances. These people must obtain permission from a person who is authorized to do so, typically a Designated School Official. Employers are obligated to verify that any individual they hire is authorized to be employed in the United States.

There are a variety of work visas. Exchange visitor visas are available to individuals who are approved to participate in study or work based exchange programs. Temporary work visas are available for foreign workers who are working in specific fields in the U.S. There are also temporary documents for skilled, educated individuals in specialized fields. Green cards are available for foreign individuals who wish to become permanent residents of the United States.

Because this process can be quite convoluted to go through on your own, you may want to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in this field of the law. A legal professional can help you to get through the process easily. Whether you are interested in a permanent or temporary stay in the U.S., it is essential that you get the documents necessary to work legally.

Looking for more information regarding employment immigration? You should visit: .

New York Immigration Marriage Law

United States is through a lawful marriage to a U.S. citizen. As a result, the Immigration Service saw many sham or business marriages. To protect the agency and the country from fraudulent applications and marriages, Congress passed Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986.

Marriage Residence status

Marriage now results in conditional residence status unless it is more than two years old at the time of granting the immigrant status. Two year period is measured from the time residency is granted. Conditional residence status may be terminated if before the second anniversary of the grant of conditional residence, the new york Immigration Service determines:

1) marriage was judicially terminated, such as a divorce
2) marriage was entered into to gain an immigration benefit
3) the couple failed to petition (Form I-751)

The Immigration Service to remove conditions within 90 days prior to second anniversary of conditional residence or the couple failed to attend their interview, unless the noncitizen has filed Form I-751 seeking a waiver of the joint filing requirement. Conditional residence becomes permanent residence after second anniversary of status if it is not terminated for any of the above reasons.

Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act covers spouses

If the new york Immigration Service suspects that an alien has entered into a sham marriage, that alien is subject to removal from the United States. For that to happen, the marriage must be fraudulent at its inception or from the very beginning.

To determine whether the marriage was fraudulent at inception, the Immigration Service looks at several factors. The question that becomes relevant is: did the bride and groom intend to establish a life together? The government looks at the subjective state of mind. However objective factors are also considered. The conduct of parties before and after the marriage is relevant. To prove validity of the marriage, the couple must present evidence which may include, but is not limited to, insurance policies, property, leases, income tax, bank accounts, etc. Additionally, the couple must be consistent in its answers to the immigration officer.

Legal citizen of U.S requires a tough process, know about it

Dreams may be big or small for all, but dreams are seen by all. Everyone loves to be in a dreamy world and some people are so very determined about their dreams that they turn no stones unturned to make it happen. Elaborating of business is an aspiration for all. All the business people want to have a bigger platform for their business to expand. US are one of the biggest nations over the world. Everyone tries to own a place there so that their lives can be better and bigger as well. The availability of the platform in US is not found that easily. The process of getting US platform is very tough and a person has to go through a lot of rules and regulations to achieve it.

What is EB5 Investment?
Let us jot down some of the points that will make you get to know how about who to make your base over US. The first step to enter over the US world is through EB5 Investment Visa. This is the visa that is used for the foreign nationals for acquiring of the green card and become a legal citizen of United States. The process of getting this visa is not at all easy. For making your business appear in a bigger platform you have to appear for the investment visa. This visa act is created by the Immigration Act of 1990 and is considered as the United States visa. For obtaining that visa it is a long process and the person has to go through a detailed process mode. If anyone wants to obtain the visa then the individuals must invest $1,000,000 or at least $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area”, creating and preserving of atleast 10jobs for the U.S worker by each of the migrated company.ny.

Going through such a process will help you to get the EB5 Investment that will help you to acquire a great life and a prosperous business over the world’s most influential state. The business gets a great increase very easily. When you have acquired this then it can be made for sure that you will get a citizenship of the country as well. EB5 Green Card holders are found very rare and they have to go through a tedious process to posses it. Getting green card means that you have the rights to access all types of benefits for its citizens in US. Being a legal citizen is a great achievement for all who have acquired it. it helps the betterment of your life easily.

Now let us focus a bit on what does franchise opportunity all means. It is about to increase your business in a much easier way. The more the outlets of a business, the more its popularity and also the profit benefits are also increased very easily through this opportunity. In short it would not be wrong to say that business gets expanded when the franchises are more.

When Should You Consult a Dog Bite Attorney

Have you suffered a dog bite injury recently? If you have, then you aren’t alone. Dogs across the United States bite millions of people each year. The chance of being bitten by a canine are much greater than the chance of being bitten by a shark, but people have more fear of the toothy fish than they do man’s best friend. While not all dogs are biters by any means, dog bite attorneys and specialists believe that dogs bite close to 5 million people each year in the country. Some of the injuries might be minor, but others are quite severe and require people to consult with dog bite attorneys to get help for their medical expenses as well as pain and suffering.

Get in Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out

If you are one of the millions who received a bite from a dog, then it is time that you contacted a dog bite attorney. You need to do it quickly as well. If you delay too long, you could find that you did not file your claim in time. Most states have a statute of limitations on how long you can wait before you file a claim. Often, this timeframe is a year, but it can vary, so you will want to talk with a dog bite attorney to determine whether you can even still file.

The states reasons that if someone hasn’t filed a claim before the statute runs out, then they probably didn’t have injuries severe enough to warrant a case. They believe that the person who tries to file late might be looking to file a frivolous lawsuit. When you listen to dog bite attorneys though, that isn’t always the case! Dog bite attorneys will often have stories about the difficulty of finding the dog’s owner. If you are unable to find the owner, you aren’t going to be able to file a claim. In some cases, it takes you and the dog bite attorney some time to find the owner. You just need to make sure that you are able to do so before the statute runs out.

Your Due Diligence

When you or someone in your family receives a dog bite injury, you will find that you need to present the dog bite attorneys with as much information as possible to make filing the case easier. In addition to the owner, it is helpful if you have witness statements, pictures of your bite, medical records and bills, and all other material related to the injury. This information can help your dog bite attorney with the case, so make sure that you have the information – or at least as much as you can find – when you set up your consultation with the attorney.

No one likes the thought of having to sue and go to court, but you deserve compensation for your injuries. Do not let an owner intimidate you into keeping silent about your injuries either! Get in touch with an attorney today.

Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Bogdan Martinovich represents victims of nursing home abuse.If you are looking for a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Illinois area contact us for free initial consultation. We don’t take any fee unless we collect.

Are Fully Free Divorce Forms Helpful

Divorce is not a joke and it has been found through various surveys that more than 40% marriage cases ends up in divorce out here in United States. This is not a small percentage and it has been found that majority of these cases ends up through violence. A single marriage might cost around $28000. However, a single divorce also needs expenses equal to buying the car. This is certainly not a small amount. Thus, divorce is not a cheap process. However, it is a necessity and most of the people want to have it as they find out that it is the only solution.

There are many kinds of divorce forms and all of them have some specific job to complete. There are separation forms, divorce decree form, uncontested divorce forms and many more. They are available in court, market, and they are available online as well. The free divorce forms however, are available online only and you cannot get them free anywhere else.

It is important to know the divorce laws in detail; otherwise, it is hard to search for the divorce forms. There are generally two kinds of divorce possible. The first one is the adversarial and the second one is done through mediation. Mediation can be cheaper but the adversarial cases are always costly. Generally, in these kinds of cases, more money is required and hence most of the couples try to find the cheaper method for divorce. It is definitely true that majority of divorce cases in United States are headed by the violence.

However, these are due to relationship and personally both of the spouses wants to break the relationship through easy process. This is the main reason why the divorce forms are now being made available online and many firms are now in this business. These forms can be bought free of cost through many sites. However, there are many pitfalls of the online forms as well. It is hard to find out that these free forms are original or fake. This is the most important problem with the divorce papers and thus there are some facts, which need to be kept in mind.

There is much kind of forms available. The first one is the complete step by step instruction set, original answer forms, affidavit for inability to pay, waiver of citation, affidavit for citation by posting, final divorce decree, certificate of last known address, testimony for divorce and many more. Some of the other forms like marriage settlement forms are also quite popular.

Each product is quite useful and has its own importance. However, sometimes it is better to pay some amount and not buy them free of cost. There might be some virus affecting your computer through free products. Some sites however, can be trusted and free divorce forms can definitely be bought. Through this process, the total cost will be only around 250 to 300 dollars. The adversarial cases cost around 28000 dollars and hence there is no doubt at all the online divorce forms is advantageous.

An Immigration Lawyer in New York of the Best Immigration Law Firm Save from being Ripped

Portray a scene, you logged on to your email account and discovered that your inbox highlighting an unread email from an unknown address stating that, -Congratulations, your application for Diversity Visa Lottery is approved and you need to send some money to the mentioned details.- The first line you mutter out will be, -Oh my God! Is it real?-, and without confirming anything, you will swipe your credit card of the bank in New York for the payment. After few days, on ringing the concerned authorities in New York City, you will be pulled out of an illusion and this time your lines will be, -why the hell, I did not checked this thing with an immigration lawyer New York from a best immigration law firm?-

Diversity Visa Lottery program, for which millions of dreamers try their luck, but only few of them are lucky enough to bag a Green Card. Irrefutably, getting a USA Green Card is something for which, people are ready to pay any price and are on their toes to do anything. Instead of acting like a wise goose, they behave like a stupid nerd and become an easy target of scammers.

The only solution to bridle fake lawyers bragging about their so-called best immigration law firm is -awareness’. One must consider below mentioned important tips extracted from a magazine article of an immigration lawyer New York law offices –

No approval emails from state department: To end all confusions, from the year 2012 onwards, candidates are advised to check their application status on the DV lottery website as State Department announced himself free from all responsibilities of notifying qualified candidates.

Keep a close look on website’s domain: In any case, if applicant receives any email from State Department, one should check the suffix of the sender, does that have -.gov- or not. It is advised that the visa department never use any other website for its DV program besides dvslottery.state.gov.

Do not pay anything to anyone for DVP: This Diversity visa lottery program is free of cost, and government of United States charges nothing for the visa. On submitting your interest for this program, you will be acknowledged with a unique confirmation code. Therefore, if anyone asks you pay anything, consider him a scammer who want to puncture your wallet

You won’t get more or before luck: The selection criterion is unique, applications are selected on a random basis and there is no such tactics to enhance success chances. If anyone promises you so, mean he is beating you around bushes.

Therefore, do not trust anyone whose promises are full of hot air, and always let your case to be handled by an immigration lawyer New York working for a best immigration law firm.

Arizona Rally And Immigration Law

As they say, when there is a trying time, that is when you would see how people really are and what they would do to be able to overcome that situation. And one of those trying times that we have is the financial crisis that has not only hit the country but the entire world as well. With this event, many people do what they can do so as to stay afloat.

There are different things that people have done during this financial crisis. There are some who have tried looking for greener fields to get their income from. There are even people who would take off from their home country and go to the United States to live the American dream in the land of milk and honey.

Going to the US is definitely one of the steps that other people do because they still believe that this country is where you can find lots of opportunities that will allow them to send money back home, and make sure that their roof remains attached to the rest of their homes.

Now some may think that those people who are just around the borders of the United States are the luckier ones as they do not have to travel that far to be able to get to the country. But this is not so as those who are at the borders are the ones who get much heat. There are some who do have the right documents and can easily enter the country. However, a lot of those who are at the borders are the ones who can enter illegally and that is why officers are so strict on them.

A bill has been signed and this one is thanks to Governor Jan Brewer. According to this one, the police have the power to ask for identification of people who may be illegal immigrants. Now, you have to have the right documents to be able to prove yourself a legal immigrant.

Of course, there are always people who may think otherwise. There are groups have said that such a law is not that fair. There are civil rights groups who believe that this can be abused. In fact, they see it as discrimination of race but only in a different hue. Still, discrimination it still is.

Officers have come forward and said that even if this bill allows them to check for identity and for the right immigrant documents, they have no problem enforcing it. Plus, they have also said that they will not abuse their power and that they will not be harassing any people. Of course, the definition of harassment can be subjective and that depends on who is doing what and who is on what end.

This new law has got to be reviewed as there are people in Arizona marching on the streets to have their say against this. In fact, there may be more Goodyear homes for sale this time if this continues and less people who own Goodyear real estate.

Islamic Divorce in New York State

Muslims residing in the State of New York are in a dual situation when it comes to the implementation of family law. On one hand, they are governed by the religious law of Islam, known as Islamic sharia, and on the other hand, the secular family law of the state of New York. To Muslims, the family law of Islam mandates that marriage and divorce among Muslims should be done in accordance with the Islamic sharia, regardless of whether they live in an Islamic or secular country. Civil divorce decrees obtained by secular courts are not recognized by Islamic sharia.

Under Islamic law, a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, whereas a Muslim woman is prohibited from marrying non-Muslim man. Under these rules, a non-Muslim woman marrying a Muslim man in compliance with Islamic sharia is subject to the rules of Islam in the areas of divorce, child custody and inheritance. In other words, a non-Muslim woman who gets married to a Muslim man in accordance with Islamic sharia, loses custody of her children in case of divorce, or in case the husband dies. Consequently, a non-Muslim woman marrying to a Muslim man is forced, under the rules of Islamic sharia, to surrender custody of her son when he reaches the age of seven, and her daughter at the age of nine. She also prohibited from inheritance. These rules are applied throughout Muslim countries with a system of sharia-based family law in place.

Marriage Contracts in Islamic Sharia
Under the rules of Islamic sharia, the marriage contract should include: (1) names and addresses of the couple; (2) name of the guardian of the bride; (3) names and addresses of two male witnesses; and (4) the amount of mahr, or a promise of money or its equivalent to be given by the husband to the bride. Like any other civil contracts, Islamic marriage contract should be in the form of offer and acceptance by the parties.

Contrary to the popular notion that mahr is dowry; it is not. A dowry is what the wife contributes to her marriage while mahr is an obligation on the husband to pay his future bride. Others call it a gift; it is not a gift either, because mahr is an obligation on the husband and is mandated by the Quran. The Quran calls it sadaq (Quran 4:4). If no stipulation of mahr is provided in the marriage contract, the marriage remains legal and in effect; in such a situation, the “qadi” (judge) will determine the amount of mahr, which remains a property of the wife alone. The amount of mahr can be paid partially: up-front (Arabic, muqaddam), and deferred until divorce or death of the husband (Arabic, muakhar), or it may be prepaid in full before the consummation of the marriage.

Legal Status of the Mahr Provision in Islamic Law
The most important feature of the mahr provision is that one party makes an offer and the other can accept or refuse to accept. It is a financial settlement between the couple in case a divorce occurs or the husband dies. Although, Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride.

In the State of New York, an Islamic marriage contract involving mahr may be considered premarital agreement for a divorce settlement. In legal terms, this is called a concurrence of wills or meeting of the minds of the future husband and his future wife. This also means that each party from an objective perspective engaged in conduct manifesting their acceptance, and a contract was formed when both parties met such a requirement.

The basic rule is that a premarital contract will be interpreted and enforced in accordance with the law of the state in which it was entered into. Thus an Islamic marriage contract signed in Egypt according to the Egyptian law for example, must be interpreted according to the law of Egypt. The Restatement of the Law Second Conflict of Laws 3d, Chapter 8, Contracts, is clear about the law for the state chosen by the parties to a contract. The text of the Restatement reads: “(1) The law of the state chosen by the parties to govern their contractual rights and duties will be applied if the particular issues is one which the parties could have resolved by an explicit provision in their agreement directed to that issue.”

Looking at both academic and case studies in this area of law, this article points the reader in the direction of the current trends in the treatment of mahr in New York State and to address Islamic family law issues relevant to New York State law and the working of its legal system. The mahr provision in an Islamic marriage contract has been interpreted differently in other states. For more information on treatment of mahr in other states, the individual should seek legal advice.

Interpretation of the Mahr in New York State
Muslim men and women assert their Islamic legal rights in American family courts; as a result, Islamic sharia governing their marriages and divorces becomes an important and complicated part of the American legal landscape. This leads to a discussion of court cases involving Muslim marriage and divorce litigations in the State of New York, as well as whether New York courts will enforce the terms of Muslim marriage contracts, mainly the mahr provision.

New York courts have jurisdiction over divorce cases within its territory, with specific focus on premarital contract structured in accordance with foreign laws. And, various state courts have found no public policy prohibition in enforcing such agreements. In New York, a mahr agreement may be interpreted within the context of a contractual obligation.

In Aziz v. Aziz, the couple entered into a mahr agreement which required the payment of $5,032, with $32 advanced and $5,000 deferred until divorce. The New York court ruled that the contract conformed to New Yorks contract requirements, and that “its secular terms are enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” (See Aziz v. Aziz, N.Y.S.2d at 124).

In this case, the husband argued that the mahr agreement provided in the Islamic marriage contract could not be enforced because it was a religious document and was not enforceable as a contract. The wife responded by stating that although the mahr is a religious stipulation; its secular terms can be properly enforced by the court. The court agreed with the wife and ordered the husband to pay the deferred mahr. The court found that the mahr agreement complied with the necessary statutory requirements to be recognized and enforceable as a premarital agreement and held that the secular terms of the mahr agreement were “enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” The court stated that the mahr agreed to by the couple constituted a secular debt of $5,000 and ordered the husband to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

The case was based entirely on another New York of Appeals case of Avitzur v. Avitzur involving a Jewish Ketubah in which a Jewish woman sued for specific performance to force her ex-husband to appear before a Beth Din (Jewish Court). Under Jewish Law, only a man can grant a divorce, or “Get”. Until he does, the woman cannot remarry within the Jewish faith to anybody. Her children will then be considered illegitimate. In order that a “Get” may be obtained, both husband and wife have to appear before the Beth Din. The husband refused to appear, leaving the woman in a state of marital limbo, making her an “agunah.” The New York Court of Appeals found that the Jewish ketubah constituted a valid premarital agreement that could be enforced despite the religious underpinnings of the agreement.

Conclusion
As the second largest religion, and with the number of Muslims immigrating to the United State on the rise, American courts are more frequently looking into Islamic divorce litigations between Muslim couples. Out of respect to Islamic law and culture, American courts attempt to apply certain provisions from Islamic sharia, such as the mahr contract in divorce cases involving Muslim couples. By doing so, American courts risk involving their arguments with gender and economic inequalities between Muslim men and women, leaving Muslim women destitute. The application of mahr agreements in Islamic divorce in the United States prevents women from exercising their rights to equitable distribution of marital assets upon divorce. If the courts need to extend their respect to Islamic law in divorce situations, they should look into whether the wife had a choice in signing the mahr agreement. Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, the Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride. Other states do not regard the mahr to be a premarital contract. Individuals seeking information on the treatment of mahr by other states should seek legal advice from a competent attorney.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Republishing of this article is hereby granted by the author.