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socrateaser, Lawyer
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This is a family law question with international scope with

Customer Question

This is a family law question with international scope with some specifics. If an American citizen ( female, non-Muslim ) marries in Egypt an Egyptian citizen (Muslim man), certified/sanctified by the Egyptian courts and registered in the American Embassy, does this constitute a legal marriage in the USA? It would be my assumption that it does not since our law is not Sharia law and also that state law comes into play here. My state of residence is Illinois.

To satisfy the Egyptian Sharia law requirement must a valid Egyptian marriage in this situation be registered in the US Embassy or could this step be omitted and still fulfill a legal/Muslim marriage requirement for the man?

There is a significant age and asset disparity between the two parties. He wants to be within his religion and married by Egyptian law but it is her wish to be together without legal binding ( ages 66 and 45) The place of residence would be the United States.

Please also advise ,if possible, as to further accessible legal counsel in my state of residence ( Chicago) Illinois about this matter for follow-up counsel and unaddressed questions that might arise, someone who specializes in family law of this scope. It is very important that your answer be accurate and fully researched.

Many thanks to you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
This is a family law question with international scope with some specifics. If an American citizen ( female, non-Muslim ) marries in Egypt an Egyptian citizen (Muslim man), certified/sanctified by the Egyptian courts and registered in the American Embassy, does this constitute a legal marriage in the USA? It would be my assumption that it does not since our law is not Sharia law and also that state law comes into play here. My state of residence is Illinois.

A: Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/409) provides: "A marriage which may have been celebrated or had in any foreign state or country, may be proved by the acknowledgment of the parties, their cohabitation, and other circumstantial testimony." Thus, Illinois law does not require proof of marriage via production of a valid marriage license issued by a foreign jurisdiction. However, the court has discretion to demand additional evidence, which may include a copy of the marriage license, if the evidence required by Section 409 appears insufficient to satisfy the proponent's burden of production/proof.

Concerning Sharia law, an Illinois court will not recognize any marriage that violates the public policy of Illinois. So, for example, if the husband is legally married to multiple wives under Egyptian law, then that would be criminal bigamy in Illinois and the marriage to the U.S. Citizen would be void.

To satisfy the Egyptian Sharia law requirement must a valid Egyptian marriage in this situation be registered in the US Embassy or could this step be omitted and still fulfill a legal/Muslim marriage requirement for the man?

A: There is no requirement to register a marriage with the U.S. Embassy. U.S. Immigrations and Naturalization (USCIS) will require a certified copy of the marriage license as part of any immigrant visa application. This is a standard part of any immigrant investigation conducted by USCIS. However, no separate registration with the U.S. Embassy is required.

Please also advise ,if possible, as to further accessible legal counsel in my state of residence ( Chicago) Illinois about this matter for follow-up counsel and unaddressed questions that might arise, someone who specializes in family law of this scope. It is very important that your answer be accurate and fully researched.

A: It seems to me from your facts, that you may need an attorney knowledgeable in immigrations law -- rather than family law. Fortunately, I am both -- unfortunately, I cannot represent the woman. For a competent immigrations law attorney referral in Illinois, see this link.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34855
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I have a few remaining questions pursuant to the original questions and your answers. In what format shall I do this?


 


MAC

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
If you have a follow-up question, then please feel free to ask.

Before you do, would you please let me know if my original answer is helpful?

The website has been experiencing system failures lately -- consequently many customers are not receiving my answers.


Thanks again.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thanks,


 


I appreciate your answer and it was indeed helpful. Now, related to the original questions asked:


 


Should a marriage such as described above take place, and the couple domiciled in Illinois, in the event of death or divorce would Illinois law treat this as any marriage in Illinois? Are there any possible protections in Illinois for the spouse who has the bulk of assets and income in the event of death or divorce? Would an existing estate plan and a prenuptial agreement be advised before such a marriage?

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Should a marriage such as described above take place, and the couple domiciled in Illinois, in the event of death or divorce would Illinois law treat this as any marriage in Illinois?

A: Assuming that the marriage is valid, as previously described, then it would be treated no different than any other Illinois marriage.

Are there any possible protections in Illinois for the spouse who has the bulk of assets and income in the event of death or divorce?

A: In order to protect oneself from adverse outcomes which may occur based upon divorce, a "premarital agreement" is generally required -- which means that it must be contracted prior to marriage. Otherwise, without both spouse's consent, there can be no waiver of a spouse's rights in divorce.

Re death, each spouse can direct their respective property to heirs/beneficiaries as they see fit. However, a spouse cannot direct "marital" property (acquired and commingled during marriage) without the other spouse's consent, or the spouse can ask the court to set aside/invalidate the misdirected assets.

If you are already married, then I would encourage you to contact an Illinois family law and estate planning attorney and discuss all of the possibilities -- because a substantial amount of assets deserves very careful consideration and legal protection, and I could probably describe a dozen different protection methods, dependent upon the actual character, amounts and location of various assets.

For a competent referral, see this link.

Would an existing estate plan and a prenuptial agreement be advised before such a marriage?

A: Absolutely. See above.

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