One of the most important aspects of divorce litigation concerning marriages that were performed in India, in compliance with the Hindu Marriage act, is the jurisdiction of the court  issued the ruling, as well as the grounds on which a U.S. divorce decree was obtained.

A large number of divorce judgments obtained from the U.S. among Indian citizens of Hindu, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains living in the United States, face the possibility that such decrees may not be recognized in India if the judgments do not comply with the prevailing laws of that country.

Our expertise in Hindu divorces in USA will help our clients determine whether litigating divorce cases in the U.S. is right for them or not.

Won A Landmark Case In New York

In a recent case, the client contacted me and sought my legal advice on  recognition of her foreign divorce obtained in Abu Dhabi including the mahr agreement. Accordingly, I wrote an affidavit to the Supreme Court of Westchester County, New York, seeking recognition of my client’s foreign divorce and her mahr contract valued at $250,000. The Supreme Court agreed with our opinion and handed down a judgment for recognition of the foreign divorce and awarded my client  the full amount. You may read the judgment of the Supreme Court at the following link: https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2012/2012-ny-slip-op-51875-u.html

The Appellate Division Affirms The Judgment

On January 20, 2016, the Appellate Division affirmed the judgment of the lower court and recognized the divorce decree obtained from Abu Dhabi, including the mahr agreement. The opinion of the Appellate Division reads:

Here, the mahr agreement, although not acknowledged in accordance with Domestic Relations Law § 236(B)(3), was signed by the parties and two witnesses, as well as the Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York. Under the circumstances presented, the Supreme Court properly recognized so much of the foreign judgment of divorce as incorporated the mahr agreement under the principles of comity, as no strong public policy of New York was violated thereby (see Greschler v Greschler, 51 NY2d 368; Rabbani v Rabbani, 178 AD2d 637). Accordingly, the court properly granted that branch of the plaintiff’s motion which was to enforce so much of the judgment of divorce as awarded the plaintiff the sum of $250,000 pursuant to the mahr agreement.”

Won A Landmark Case Involving Custody of Children

Saudi Arabia’s Shari’a Court issued a custody order against a U.S. citizen woman who was married to a Saudi husband. The husband obtained a court judgment from Saudi Arabia granting him custody of his two daughters. The Court in Allegheny, Pennsylvanian agreed with our argument that Saudi Arabia does not have jurisdiction, and the custody order violates Pennsylvania public policy and that Saudi Arabia is in violation to international human rights treaties. The Court in Allegheny said:

Mother’s expert, Professor Gabriel Sawma, testified that women in Saudi Arabia are considered “second class citizens”, and women of all ages are not permitted to do anything including, but not limited to, attending school, driving a vehicle, or seeking medical treatment, without their guardian’s permission. Every girl and woman must have a guardian under Saudi Arabia law. Professor Sawma further testified that under Saudi Arabian custody law, once a female child has obtained the age of 7, the father is automatically granted sole custody of the child, and under no circumstances would a mother be granted custody once a female child is over the age of 7. Additionally, Mother would require a “sponsor” to be permitted entry to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Because Mother would have no opportunity to gain custody of the Children in Saudi Arabia, and Father could refuse to sponsor her entry into Saudi Arabia, Father could potentially prevent Mother from seeing the Children again.”

The custody order from Pennsylvania is available at request. For more information on Abduction of children or fear of abduction to Muslim majority countries, please see our website at: www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com

The Opinion is available at this link: http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-second-department/2016/2012-11549.html

As Expert Consultant, we offer the following services on:

  • International Law, including laws of the Middle East and Islamic Shari’a.
  • Hindu marriage and divorce in U.S. courts.
  • Abduction of children to Muslim majority countries, and fear of parental abduction.
  • Custody of children in Muslim majority countries.
  • Iranian divorce, custody, and mahriah in U.S. courts.
  • Abduction of children or fear of parental abduction to Iran.
  • Enforcement of mahr agreements in U.S. courts.
  • U.S. immigration cases dealing with Islamic divorces obtained overseas.
  • Islamic marriage, divorce, custody and abduction or fear of abduction to Muslim majority countries.


Professor Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a nationally recognized authority on Islamic marriage and divorce in USA, Hindu marriages and divorces, with over 40 years experience in International Matrimonial Law, mainly, recognition and enforcement of Islamic and Hindu divorces in USA. His expertise helped clients, attorneys and judges understand the nature of Islamic and Hindu Family Laws.

Professor Sawma is also expert consultant on Islamic finance; he taught Islamic finance for the MBA program at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

Lectured at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in New York.

For information on Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain divorces in USA, please read the articles listed on the right column of this page. Yoy may visit us at: http//www.hindudivorceinuscourts.com

For  information on Islamic divorce in USA, please  visit our website at:  http://www.muslimdivorceinusa.com

For information on Iranian divorce in USA, please see this link: http://www.iraniandivorceinusa.com

You may also see Professor Sawma’s Curriculum Vitae at this address:  http://muslimdivorceinusa.com/professor-gabriel-sawma-curriculum-vitae/

A list of all my articles on International Matrimonial Law can be found at: http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com


BBC News“International lawyer Gabriel Sawma, an authority on Sharia law, including Islamic marriage contracts.”

CNN International Edition“Gabriel Sawma, an attorney specializing in Muslim divorce law and professor at Farleigh Dickinson University.”

FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON UNIVERSITYGabriel Sawma, “Islamic Shari’a in Theory and Practice.”

Contact Information
Tel: (609) 915 2237
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

Coverage: In addition to the United States and Canada, our sevices cover consultations on Hindu marriage and divorce, the Islamic law of marriage, divorce, and child custody of:  India, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunesia, Turkey, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Iraq, India, Brunei, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyztan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Media: For media interviews, please use contact information listed above.