Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Supreme Court of Westchester County Recognizes a Divorce Obtained from Abu Dhabi


As Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce obtained from the Middle East, Central Asia and other Islamic nations, this author has been privileged to have been able to defend, successfully, clients by submitting legal opinions and affidavits in their support on issues related  to Islamic divorce to State and Federal Courts and to Immigration Boards. Some of these cases have been reported by major U.S. law journals. Following is a landmark case at New York Supreme Court of Westchester County, in which this author submitted an affidavit on behalf of a client. The honorable Court agreed with our argument and granted the client recognition of a divorce decree obtained in Abu Dhabi, including custody of children and a mahr of $250,000. You may read the judgment of the Supreme Court on the following link:



You may also read more on the treatment of the Islamic mahr agreements in US courts, by visiting our website at http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com

THE DRUZE DIVORCE IN USA


By
Prof. Gabriel Sawma

Introduction to the Druze Community in USA
A study of the Druze community in the United States can be understood within the context of the Druze people and their presence in the Middle East, mainly in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. The faith is called Tawheed and takes its origin from Shi’a Islam under the guidance of the sixth Fatimid caliph Abu Ali Al-Mansur Al-Aziz Bi-Allah, popularly known as Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah. This caliph is considered by the adherents of the Druze faith a man with great wisdom and knowledge. (For in depth analysis of the Druze faith, refer to The Druze Faith by Sami Makarem, New York, Caravan Books, 1974).

Although there are Druze in Israel, Syria and Jordan, the majority are present in Lebanon, where they are recognized as a minority who possess a great political influence in that country. Their influence goes back to the Ottoman period.

Development of the the Druze Personal Status Law
During the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic family law (Personal Status Law), was applied to the Muslim communities according to the Hanafi School of Thought. (For more information on Muslim Family Law under the Ottoman Empire, see The View from Istanbul: Lebanon and the Druze Emirate n the Ottoman Chancery Documents 1541-1711 by Abdul-Rahim Abu-Husayni, New York, Center for Lebanese Studies in association with I.B. Tauris Publications, 2004)

The Ottoman family law remained in force in Lebanon until 1926 when the French government, which had a Mandate over Lebanon, decided to modify it in order to give separate legal status for the Shi’a community. In December of 1926, the French authority recognized the Druze of Lebanon as an independent sect. And, in 1948, the Druze Personal Status Law was enacted for the purpose of organizing the court system for the community. 

The final Personal Status Law (PSL) governing the Druze community was issued on March 5, 1960. The PSL governs all aspects of family law for the Druze community in Lebanon. However, when a case has no legal ruling in the PSL, the judge may apply the Hanafi code of the Sunni Muslims, taking into account the Druze traditions, customs and the principles of justice and equality. Before 1948, family cases such as marriage, divorce, custody of the children and inheritance, were settled in accordance with the prevailing Islamic law according to the Hanafi provisions taking into consideration the practices and customs of the Druze community. (For more on the Druze tradition, see Nizam al-Mowahedine Al-Dorouz Al-Ijtimaa’; fi sijil alahkam al mazhabiat lil qadi Ahmad Taqqi Al-Dine, 1866-1870 by Taqii Al-Dine, Slieman and Abou=Chakra, Dar Isharar lil Tiba’at Wa Al-Nashir Wa Al-Tawzee’, Beirut, 2006)

The Current Personal Status Law of the Druze in Lebanon
Divorce is defined as the termination of a marriage contract. According to Article 37 of the PSL, the judge of the Druze community has solely the authority to end the marriage. Once the divorce order is issued by the judge, the husband is not allowed to remarry his divorced wife. (Article 38). Divorced members of the Druze community wish to remarry may obtain a civil marriage outside the country or change their religion.

Contrary to the rules of Islamic divorce, a Druze man cannot divorce his wife unilaterally. Under the Islamic rules, a Muslim man can divorce his wife anytime and in any place by just uttering “I divorce you”, or “I divorce my wife”, or “my wife is divorced.” Such a rule is not acceptable in a Druze divorce according to Article 37. Once a divorce application is submitted to the court, the judge is required by law to appoint two adjudicators for reconciliation:

“In a dispute between husband and wife, the judge shall appoint two arbitrators from both families. If none of their relatives has the legal capacity to act as arbitrator, the judge shall appoint an outsider to conduct the reconciliation.”

If the judge finds the husband is at fault, he will order the husband to pay the wife, balance of the mahr. According to Article 49 of the PSL, the judge has authority to order compensation for injuries caused by the husband in addition to the mahr.

The wife may seek divorce without losing her right to mahr under conditions stated in Articles 39, 40, 41, 43, 44 and 45. The conditions include wife’s right to seek divorce if the husband suffers from incurable, contagious disease, or if the husband is mentally ill, or committed an act of adultery, was imprisoned for more than five years, was absent for three years with providing maintenance to his wife for five years. Under these circumstances the wife may seek divorce without losing her mahr. On the other hand, the husband may seek divorce if the wife is considered “nashez”, i.e., refuses to have sexual relation with her husband, or leaves the house without reasonable cause and does not return back. According to Article 42 of PSL, a Druze married couple may agree to divorce amicably in front of two witnesses without having to explain the cause of divorce to the judge.

Types of Divorce in the Druze Community
Divorce among members of the Druze community takes one of three forms: (1) divorce by agreement (talaq bi al taradi) of the married couples before the case is presented to the court, i.e., out-of-court settlement; (2) the divorce is contested before the court, but the couples decide to settle the case after court intervention; (3) when the parties to a divorce contested their case before a judge without reaching an agreement. In such cases, the judge would issue a judgment of divorce.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a recognized authority on Islamic law of marriage, divorce, custody of children and abduction of children to Muslim countries, Hindu marital disputes in U.S. courts, and Iran divorce in USA.
·       Professor of Middle East Constitutional and Islamic law,
·       Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce in US Courts and Canada,
·       Expert Consultant on Hindu divorce in U.S. courts,
·       Expert Consultant on Iranian Shi’a divorce in USA,
·       Expert Consultant on Islamic finance.
Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Prof. Sawma lectured at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in New York State and wrote many affidavits to immigration authorities and family State Courts in connection with recognition of Islamic foreign divorces in the U.S., Hindu divorces, and Iranian marital conflicts.
Taught Islamic Finance for MBA program at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Travelled extensively to: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria and Palestine.
Wrote many articles on Islamic and Hindu divorce in USA, custody of children in the Middle East and Central Asia; and abduction of children to Muslim countries; 
Speaks, reads and writes several languages including Arabic, English, French and other Semitic languages.
Interviewed by:

Contact Information:


Tel. (609) 915-2237

For more information on our field of expertise, please visit our websites at the following links, where you will find most of our articles:

For more information on the author, please see Curriculum Vitae at this link:
http://muslimdivorceinusa.com/professor-gabriel-sawma-curriculum-vitae/

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Supreme Court of Westchester County Recognizes a Divorce Obtained from Abu Dhabi

As Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce obtained from the Middle East, Central Asia and other Islamic nations, this author has been privileged to have been able to defend, successfully, clients by submitting legal opinions and affidavits in their support on issues related  to Islamic divorce to State and Federal Courts and to Immigration Boards. Some of these cases have been reported by major U.S. law journals. Following is a landmark case at New York Supreme Court of Westchester County, in which this author submitted an affidavit on behalf of a client. The honorable Court agreed with our argument and granted the client recognition of a divorce decree obtained in Abu Dhabi, including custody of children and a mahr of $250,000. You may read the judgment of the Supreme Court on the following link:



You may also read more on the treatment of the Islamic mahr agreements in US courts, by visiting our website at http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com

INTRODUCTION TO SHI’I FAMILY LAW OF IRAN BEFORE AND AFTER THE REVOLUTION A COMPARATIVE STUDY


BY
PROFESSOR GABRIEL SAWMA

Prior to the advent of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran, family laws under the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925-79) witnessed major changes in that field, the Family protection Law of 1967 and its amendments in 1975 abolished extrajudicial divorce, instituted the wife’s right to divorce under certain conditions, limited polygamy by making it subject to judicial approval, and authorized the courts to rule on arrangements related to the maintenance of a divorced couple’s children.

In theory, the reforms under the Pahlavi rule were more advanced than the previous Iranian family laws. For example the reforms made it harder for a man to abandon his wife and prevented him from threatening her with the possibility of a sudden and rapid divorce and the loss of custody of her children. Although the new reforms embedded in the Family Protection Law remained partially based on the Shi’i Ja’fari School of law, for instance by accepting all the conditions that entitled either party to obtain a divorce, such as insanity and other disabling illnesses. These conditions were expanded and included in Article 11 an important change in the event a husband married a second wife without the consent of the first one, the latter could apply for divorce:

(1) If either spouse received a prison sentence of five or more years.
(2) A dangerous addiction on the part of either spouse which could, in the opinion of the court, be hazardous to the welfare of the family.
(3) Marriage of the husband to another woman without the consent of his first wife.
(4) When either partner abandoned the family life. This was subject to the court’s confirmation.
(5) If a husband or wife has, on account of the commission of a crime repugnant to the position and dignity of the family of the other party, been, according to the final judgment of a court of law, found guilty. The question whether or not the crime is repugnant to the position and dignity of the other party shall be determined by the court after taking into consideration the position and circumstances of both the parties as well as the custom and other standards.

Article 14 of the Family Protection Law requires the husband to get permission from the judge in order to marry a second wife, it reads:

When a man, already having a wife, desires to marry another woman, he shall obtain permission from the court of law. The court shall give the permission only when it has taken the necessary steps, and, if possible, has made an inquiry from the present wife of the man, in order to assure the financial potentiality and ability of the man for doing justice [to both wives].

In case the man marries [another woman] without obtaining the due permission from the court, he shall be liable for the punishment provided in section 5 of the Marriage Act f 1310-16[iii] (1931-37 A.D.)

The significance of the Family Protection Law of 1967 was threefold. First, it curbed the unilateral privilege of men regarding divorce and polygamy. No longer could a man divorce his wife readily or in absentia. Nor could he marry a second wife without the permission of the court. It was mandatory for both married couple to apply to a court of law for a certificate of non-reconciliation before a divorce would be granted. Second, a woman could petition for divorce under certain condition regardless of whether the privilege of acting as her husband’s agent was stipulated in the marriage contract. Third, parent had to make arrangements for adequate care of the children before divorce could be granted.

In practice, and according to the Islamic law, a man could always marry a second wife, provided he had the financial means to do so, while a woman could only file a petition for a judicial certificate allowing her to annul the marriage.

The reform also stated that “a husband may, with the approval of the court, prevent his wife from an occupation which is repugnant to the interest of his or her family or position” (Article 15).

The Family Law was consistent with the more tolerant reading of Islam and lifting the inequity imposed on women, protecting children’s rights, and safeguarding men’s dignity. Husband and wife shared joint responsibility for the family the adult woman was entitled to self-guardianship, rather than that of a male family member, and had the freedom to exercise it independently and the minimum age of marriage was increased to eighteen for both men and women.

As to the mut’a marriages, the Family Protection Law did not touch that institution, which allows a man to contract a temporary marriage according to Shi’a law.
In general, while the Family Protection Law of 1967 constituted an important step toward reducing discrimination against women, its impact was limited in its scope, and soon the Law was replaced aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.


THE IMPACT OF ISLAMIC REVOLUTION ON IRANIAN FAMILY LAW
As soon as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni took the power in 1979, the Family Protection Law was suspended along with other laws that were considered ‘un-Islamic’. On December 1979, the Revolution adopted a new Constitution based on Islamic shari’a. Article 19 declares that “All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights and color, race, language, and the like, do[es] not bestow any privilege”.

Article 21 deals exclusively with women, prescribing, that the government must “create a favorable environment for the restoration of [women’s rights; respect mothers, particularly during pregnancy and childbearing; support widows, aged women and women without support and award guardianship of children to worthy mothers, in order to protect the interests of the children, in the absence of a legal guardian”. This notion is also stated in the preamble of the Constitution where it reads:
Women were drawn away from the family unit and the condition of being a ‘mere thing’, or ‘being a mere tool for works’ in the service of consumerism and exploitation. Re-assumption of the task of bringing up religiously minded men and women, ready to work and fight together in life’s fields of activity, is a serious and precious duty of motherhood.

It is important to note that the Revolution granted women ‘intellectual rights’ unseen before in the history of Iran. Both the preamble and the first paragraph of Article 21 underlined the need to grant women for their active part in the Revolution their ‘intellectual rights.’ This made the government of Iran embark on an extensive policy for educating women, a policy that resulted in one of the highest levels of female education in the entire region.

This policy, however, contrasted with the new Civil Code of 1979, which penalized women by authorizing a minimum marriage age of nine years for girls the marriage of virgin women required the consent of their fathers; polygamy was reinstated without any legal restrains; commanded a wife’s obedience to her husband as a necessary condition in order to obtain maintenance; allowed mut’a marriage as a recognized institution (Articles 1075-77);  children were placed in the custody of the father in the event of divorce because “any child born during married life belongs to the husband” (Article 1158). And, in compliance with Qur’anic provisions, Article 1133 of the Civil Code stated that “A husband can repudiate his wife any time he wishes.” Additionally, the Special Civil Courts Act Article 3/2 provides that:

If a husband wishes a divorce in accordance with Article 1133 of the Civil Code, the court must first refer the case to arbitration in conformity with the Holy verse (i.e. the Qur’an): ‘If you fear a breach between the two, bring forth an arbiter from his people and from her people an arbiter, if they desire to set things right; God will compose their differences; surely God is all-knowing, all-aware.’ Permission to divorce shall be granted to the husband, if reconciliation between the spouses has not materialized.
This means that, in compliance with the Qur’an, a husband is guaranteed divorce without having to provide any excuse for it, but there has to be a process of arbitration. The law requires that process to be handled by a judge. Article 1109 of the Civil Code allows a husband to invoke his wife’s disobedience (nushuz) in order to avoid paying her the maintenance due during the idda.


MORE POST REVOLUTION CHANGES TO FAMILY LAW
As we noticed in the previous paragraph, the new law was more adaptive to the Qur’an than the pre-Revolution Family Protection Law, and it took away some of the gains that women were able to achieve under the Pahlavi rule. But the rapid changes in the social and educational aspects of the Iranian society after the Revolution, followed by the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), brought a gradual modification to the laws. The war forced women, to leave their homes and seek work outside. The period also witnessed a rise in women’s’ high education and made them compete for better positions in the job market. These two factors pushed women to delay their marriage and have fewer children. United Nation’s Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs says that between 1975 and 1980, the total fertility number was 6.5. The projected level for Iran’s 2005 to 2010 birth rate is fewer than two.

The competition in job opportunities in Iran created a conflict in the sphere of family. Women became influential in the public arena and started competing with men in the work force, and female organization embarked on efforts to amend the family law. In early 1982, and under pressure, the Iranian Parliament (Majles) added two provisions to the marriage contract first; the divorce wife was given the right to claim half of the wealth acquired during marriage, as long as the divorce was not deemed her fault. It delegates the right of divorce to the wife, through the intermediary of the court, where certain conditions occurs.

Articles 181 and 1883 of the Civil Code stated that the children of martyrs were to be under the paternal grandfather’s custody. This meant that the payment for the care of the orphans made by the Martyr’s Foundation also went to them. Under pressure from women organizations in Iran, the parliament passed a bill transferring the right of guardianship and tutorship of the martyr’s minors to their mothers, even after a mother’s remarriage.

In 1987, the Iranian parliament approved more benefits for widows and minors of the martyrs mainly better pensions for them, which is the equivalent of the late husband’s last salary. The Martyr’s Foundation also contributed with several benefits, such as free housing and free school tuition.

In 1989 the parliament established a new procedure for men who divorce their wives, the civil courts which have the right to approve a divorce. Thus, in order to divorce, a man had to produce good reasons and the court has the authority to consider those reasons as sufficient and may refuse the divorce. But this seems to violate the Qur’anic provision, which allows a man to divorce his wife, anytime and in any place of his choosing.


DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author. 
Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a recognized authority on Islamic law of marriage, divorce and custody of children, Hindu marital disputes in U.S. courts, and Iran divorce in USA.
·        Professor of Middle East Constitutional and Islamic law,
·        Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce in US Courts and Canada,
·        Expert Consultant on Hindu divorce in U.S. courts,
·        Expert Consultant on Iranian Shi’a divorce in USA,
·        Expert Consultant on Islamic finance.

Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Prof. Sawma lectured at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in New York State and wrote many affidavits to immigration authorities, Federal Courts, and family State Courts in connection with recognition of Islamic foreign divorces in the U.S., Hindu divorces, and Iranian marital conflicts.

Taught Islamic Finance for MBA program at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Travelled extensively to: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria and Palestine.

Wrote many articles on Islamic and Hindu divorce in USA, custody of children in the Middle East and Central Asia; and on abduction of children to Muslim countries; 
Speaks, reads and writes several languages including Arabic, English, French and others.

Interviewed by:


Contact Information:

Tel. (609) 915-2237

For more information on Iranian marriage, divorce, custody of the children and inheritance, please read our articles at the following links:



For more information on the author, please see Curriculum Vitae at this link: http://muslimdivorceinusa.com/professor-gabriel-sawma-curriculum-vitae/

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Supreme Court of Westchester County Recognizes a Divorce Obtained from Abu Dhabi


As Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce obtained from the Middle East, Central Asia and other Islamic nations, this author has been privileged to have been able to defend, successfully, clients by submitting legal opinions and affidavits in their support on issues related  to Islamic divorce to State and Federal Courts and to Immigration Boards. Some of these cases have been reported by major U.S. law journals. Following is a landmark case at New York Supreme Court of Westchester County, in which this author submitted an affidavit on behalf of a client. The honorable Court agreed with our argument and granted the client recognition of a divorce decree obtained in Abu Dhabi, including custody of children and a mahr of $250,000. You may read the judgment of the Supreme Court on the following link:



You may also read more on the treatment of the Islamic mahr agreements in US courts, by visiting our website at http://www.islamicdivorceinusa.com

CUSTODY OF CHILDREN IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES



By
Prof. Gabriel Sawma


CODIFICATION OF THE PERSONAL STATUS LAW IN THE UAE
The United Arab Emirates codified their Code of Personal Status (Code) No. 28 in 2005 (Arabic, qanun al-ahwal al-shakhsiyyah). It was published officially in the Gazette under no. 439 of 11/30, 2005. Custody of the children is covered by articles 142-158 of the Code. It is largely based on the Maliki School of jurisprudence, and to a lesser degree on the Hanbali School, then Shafi’i, followed by Hanafi. The Code identifies the welfare of the child [maslahat al-hadana] when determining eligibility for custody and its duration. 

The general rule under Islamic Shari’a in the Sunni traditions is that all Islamic Schools of Jurisprudence hold that the mother, whether living with her husband or divorced, has the first claim to custody of her infant child. Nevertheless, these Schools differ with regard to the duration of female custodianship, and infancy is not always defined in terms of age limits.


CUSTODY PROVISIONS IN THE UAE CODE OF PERSONAL STATUS
Article 142 of the ode defines custody as following: “Custody is for providing the care, education and protection of the child in a way that does not contradict the right of the guardian.” This follows the approach of many countries whose family law is based on Islamic Shari’a, whereby custody of the infant remains with the mother, while guardianship is preserved to the father. This means the mother is seen as custodian, responsible for the day-to-day needs of the child, such as food and sanitation, while the father is responsible for the financial needs of the child, as well as providing him/her with shelter, reasonable medical care when needed and holding the child's passport.


DURATION OF FEMALES CUSTODIANSHIP
Article 156 (1) of the Code states the following: “Female custodianship ends when the boy reaches age of eleven and female reaches the age of thirteen, unless the court, in the interest of the child, decides to extend [the custody of the mother] until the son reaches bulugh (puberty/maturity) and the daughter consummates her marriage.”

The traditional Schools of Jurisprudence in Sunni Islam, mother’s custody in Hanbali School runs from birth to the age of seven for both, boys and girls. At the age of seven, the Hanbali School gives the child the right to choose which parent he or she wants to live with. In the Maliki School, the son will remain in the custody of his mother until he reaches puberty (bulugh), whereas the girl remains in her mother’s custody until she consummates her marriage (dukhul). The Arabic term bulugh is not defined by the Maliki School, but most scholars believe it is the age of fifteen. The Maliki School does not confer a right of choice to the children. The Hanafi School determines mother’s custody at the age of seven for boys and nine for girls; whereas the Shafi’i gives the mother right to custody at the age of seven for both boys and girls.


ELIGIBILITY FOR CUSTODY IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Article 146 of the Code of Personal Status states the following: “Custody is the right of the mother and then that of females within a prohibited degree of kinship [muharam], whereby maternal relatives have priority over paternal relatives taking into consideration the closest degree of kinship, with the father being the exception according to the following rank, and provided that the judge take into account the interest of the child.” According to article 146, the father comes second in a long list of entitled custodians.


QUALIFICATION OF THE CUSTODIAN
Article 143 of the Code specifies the requirements needed for the custodian of children to be qualified: puberty, sanity, health, ability to take care of the child, take care of the health of the child to avoid contagious diseases, and bee clean of any court judgments that is related to honor.
Article 144 contains two separate lists of requirement for women and men. Accordingly, a woman is prohibited from living with a husband who would not be legally prohibited from marrying the child whose custody is at issue. Article 144 also has a requirement that the mother should not re-marry, otherwise, she loses her right to custody. This last requirement does not apply to the husband, who has the right to marry up to four wives at the same time and keep the children under his custody. The husband is only barred from having custody of a girl to whom he does not have prohibited degree of kinship.

It is important to note that the prohibition of a female to be custodian if she remarries is not absolute; rather it can be waived whenever a continuation of female custody is considered to be in the best interest of the child.


NON-MUSLIM MOTHER LOSES CUSTODY OF HER CHILDREN WHEN THE CHILD IS FIVE YEARS OLD
If the mother of the child is not Muslim, she loses her custody of her own child unless the judge rules otherwise. However, article 145 states that in such a case, duration of the mother’s custody to her child ceases when the child reaches the age of five, and it does not matter if the child is a boy or a girl. In other words, if there is a divorce, or the husband dies, the mother is prohibited from having custody of her children unless the court decides otherwise. If the court decides to grant the mother custody of the children, she can only have the custody until the children reach the age of five. After that, custody goes to the father.


ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN COURT JUDGMENTS OF CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS
Custody orders of foreign courts are not enforceable in the United Arab Emirates. Foreign court orders of child support are not enforceable too.  A U.S. citizen parent with a court order from the United States granting him or her custody may present such order in the court of the UAE;  the court may take such an order into consideration, but will not be binding in a custody proceeding.
Non-custodial parents are guaranteed visitation rights, but may have to seek approval from the appropriate authorities.  
DUAL CITIZENSHIP

The United Arab Emirates do not recognize dual citizenship. Children born of a UAE father citizen take the citizenship of their father at birth, regardless where the child was born.


DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a recognized authority on Islamic law of marriage, divorce and custody of children, Hindu marital disputes in U.S. courts, and Iran divorce in USA.

·        Professor of Middle East Constitutional and Islamic law,
·        Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce in US Courts and Canada,
·        Expert Consultant on Hindu divorce in U.S. courts,
·        Expert Consultant on Iranian Shi’a divorce in USA,
·        Expert Consultant on Islamic finance.

Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Prof. Sawma lectured at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in New York State and wrote many affidavits to immigration authorities, Federal Courts, and family State Courts in connection with recognition of Islamic foreign divorces in the U.S., Hindu divorces, and Iranian marital conflicts.

Taught Islamic Finance for MBA program at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Travelled extensively to: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria and Palestine.

Wrote many articles on Islamic and Hindu divorce in USA, custody of children in the Middle East and Central Asia; and on abduction of children to Muslim countries; 
Speaks, reads and writes several languages including Arabic, English, French and others.
Interviewed by:


Contact Information:


Tel. (609) 915-2237

You may read more articles on the law of marriage, divorce, custody of children and inheritance in the United Arab Emirates by visiting our website at:



For more information on the author, please see Curriculum Vitae at this link: