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"Validity of religious marriage"

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OldForum Click to EMail OldForumClick to check IP address of the poster 07-Jun-00, 03:10 PM (GMT)
"Validity of religious marriage"
Subject: Validity of religous marriage Author: Nancy Hormachea Date: 11/5/2000

Facts: Two US citizens of Afghan descent travel to Germany to be married in the presence of their relatives. An Imam performs a religious ceremony. Large party, big wedding, etc. Couple returns to America where they lived in marital union for 5-6 years. No civil marriage is ever performed in US and the couple does not live in a State which recognizes common law marriages. Now husband has left wife, gone to Pakistan and married another woman. He was able to immigrate the second wife because for US immigration purposes no marriage to first wife existed. Do the laws in Germany recognize the religious ceremony to any extent??? Please help. The woman involved in this abuse is devastated. Thank you

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RE: Validity of religious marriage, gd, 07-Jun-00, (1)

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gd Click to EMail gdClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster 07-Jun-00, 03:14 PM (GMT)
1. "RE: Validity of religious marriage"
I am afraid I have essentially bad news for your client. German law is quite liberal in recognizing marriages concluded abroad, but adamant about marriages within Germany. If they are not concluded before the registrar, they are not valid under German law.

However, the marriage may be considered valid under German law if all of the following requirements are met:

1) Neither spouse is a German national - I think that is the case.

2) The ceremony conducted by the imam would in itself suffice for a valid marriage under Afghan law at the time - that I do not know.

3) The Afghan government (represented in particular through its embassy or consulate in Germany) had authorized the imam in question to conduct marriages on German soil by a verbal note to the German government; it is widely believed that such a verbal note need not name the imam in
question personally, though.

In this case, the religious marriage could have been registered as such in Germany, and registration would be considered (rebuttable) proof of the validity. However - and this may be important to you - this is the only case where registration does not have constitutive, but declaratory effect - i.e., there could be a valid marriage under German conflicts law on German soil without registration in Germany.

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