Home > Family > Denmark > 2003-09-02 - Western High Court of Denmark, n. 6. Afd. B-1791-03, (...)

2003-09-02 - Western High Court of Denmark, n. 6. Afd. B-1791-03, V2003.B-1791-03 - Religious Marriage-case

Family · Denmark · Divorce · Religious marriage

A religious union that is not recognized in Turkey cannot lead to bigamy in Denmark

Key facts of the case - In 1997, H went down to Turkey where she met a man, M, and married him. Everything was done officially and in 1998, M came to Denmark.
However in 2001, H found out that M had another wife in Turkey, a woman he married in 1994. He has two children from his earlier wife.
M’s earlier wife claims it is not an official wedding but a religious wedding. It was performed by an imam and but it was not registered because M did not want it to be registered.
H seeks the annulment of the marriage due to M having been married before. M however, claims that his supposed former wife is lying and she was merely his girlfriend. He does not want an annulment but seeks a divorce from M.

Main reasoning of the Court - The Court, having looked to the legal practice in Turkey, found that religious weddings are rare in Turkey and registration of any couples marrying is mandatory. Religious marriages by themselves are not recognized.
Even though M may have been married to A before his marriage to H, religious marriages have no legal consequences in Turkey and neither do have an effect in Denmark.
The Court did not annul the marriage but granted a divorce.