Home > Family > Denmark > 2005-04-06 - Eastern High Court of Denmark, n. 20. afd, nr. B-777-02, u. (...)

2005-04-06 - Eastern High Court of Denmark, n. 20. afd, nr. B-777-02, u. 2005.2314Ø - Mahr/Dowry-case

Family · Denmark · Dower · Mahr · Marriage

Under Danish law, the dower is a gift

Key facts of the case - In 1988, M and H married in Denmark at a local Islamic institution. By 2001, the couple had separated and there was an issue regarding the payment of mahr.
Mahr is a custom, akin to a dowry, in which the husband pays a certain amount to his wife. The amount is determined at the time of marriage and it can be paid all at once or in terms. By divorce or the death of the husband however, the payment is due immediately.
H and M in their wedding contract signed for a mahr of 25.000 k. H claims that M has not paid the mahr while M argues that by the time of his arrival to Denmark, he paid the required amount to H’s mother. He paid the amount in Danish crowns and jewellery.
Both parties have chosen to apply Danish law. H has claimed that mahr cannot be compared to a gift but to an obligation, an obligation that is part of the marriage contract. M has claimed a mahr is like a gift and according to Danish law it is a marriage settlement and that requires a separate contract.

Reasoning of the court - After some expert opinion on the definition of the concept of mahr, the Court accepts that mahr is an accepted legal term in Pakistan.
However in Denmark, an equivalent concept would appear to be a gift. A valid gift requires a marriage agreement, unless it is a usual gift, which is representative of the economical situation of the giving party. In this case, the gift is not usual and linked with the economical situation of M. this would then mean that since there is no marriage agreement, the gift is invalid and M does not have to pay.

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