Home > Family > Denmark > 2001-12-18 - Eastern High Court of Denmark, n. 13. afd. n. S-1556-01, u. (...)

2001-12-18 - Eastern High Court of Denmark, n. 13. afd. n. S-1556-01, u. 2002.690Ø - Bigami-case

Family · Denmark · Divorce · Marriage

Non-recognition of a divorce pronounced according to Islamic custom

Key facts of the case - T, who has had no prior criminal record, married a woman (A) in Pakistan in 1993. He got a child with A. It was an arranged and forced marriage and according to T, he verbally divorced his wife in 1995 in front of two witnesses. According to Islamic custom, a divorce can be accomplished orally and need not be spoken to the spouse directly. The divorce message may be conveyed to a third party who can then inform the spouse.
In 1996, T came to Denmark and married B. He then divorced B in 1997 and married C later the same year. During his marriage to B and C, he told neither of his former marriage in Pakistan nor of his child.
During some periodic visits to Pakistan, T had another child with A, born in 2000. T has since then sought divorce from C in January 2001 and is currently living with a Danish woman, D.

Main reasoning of the Court - The Court finds that even though T says he divorced A, he must not have believed in the divorce himself since it is not customary in Islamic family law for the man to have a child with a woman he supposedly divorced.
Furthermore, based on T’s educational level, the court believes he should have known that such a relation is not legal. He should have realized that he cannot marry again until his divorce with A is full and complete.
T was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment.