The breakdown of any relationship is distressing and emotional. It is important that, if you have reached a stage where you are unable to resolve matters between you, you have a solicitor who understands your situation and concerns and can advise you of the implications of all of the options available to you.
If you are Asian, you will not only have to deal with the complicated legal formalities and procedures, you will have the added pressure of cultural and religious expectations weighing you down, as well as the human concerns of how your decisions will impact your family and your future. You will also be making decisions with the emotional burden of those around you giving you, sometimes unwanted, advice on what you should and should not be doing.
Whilst the law in England itself remains the same irrespective of your background, in Asian cases, there are usually additional factors that need to be brought to the court's attention when asking the Court to deal with your separation.
ISLAMIC MARRIAGES (‘NIKAH’)
Many couples will now have their wedding ceremony abroad under local law. These ceremonies may need to be considered in detail to assess whether they took place in accordance with the local laws and whether they created a legal marriage.
ISLAMIC DIVORCES ('TALAQ / KHULA')
Increasingly, individuals may seek to dissolve their marriages in another country – irrespective of where the marriage itself took place. In some circumstances, you could find that your valid marriage in England has already been dissolved by an overseas divorce. In these circumstances, you may need to ask the Courts to make a Declaration as to your Marital Status before you are able to consider the finances and discussing settlements.
For some individuals, particularly wives, it is also important to have a religious divorce alongside any other divorce proceedings to ensure that their marital status is not considered ambiguous abroad, an issue which could potentially have a massive impact of their day to day lives if not properly finalised.
MAHR / MEHR
In many Islamic marriages, there is a requirement that the Groom agrees to pay the Bride a Mahr, which is a sum of money or property owed to her upon marriage. If the Mahr is not paid at all, or is only partially paid, there are ways in which it can be considered within the financial discussions following a separation.
Irpreet Kohli in our Family Team has a particular expertise in this area which enables her to provide practical and relevant advice based on a real understanding of the pressures that her clients face and the consequences of any decisions they are asked to make.
Irpreet's niche in this area has been recognised for 3 years running by Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession who commented that Irpreet 'specialises in dealing with cases with an Asian element and provides an empathetic yet assertive approach when advising her clients."