Wednesday, November 02, 2016


Professor Gabriel Sawma
Case Study: S.B. v. W.A.

In 2012, I was asked to write an opinion to the Supreme Court of Westchester County in New York on behalf of S.B. who obtained a divorce decree from Abu Dhabi, UAE. The divorce decree granted the wife custody of the children and ordered the husband to pay his wife, a mahr of $250,000.00, and legal fees. 

The New York’s Supreme Court of Westchester County took a judicial notice of the constitution and laws of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for purposes of determining whether entry of judgment of divorce and order of child custody entered in Abu Dhabi would be recognized and registered in the state of New York. (See procedural and background of the case S.B. v. W.A. at:

Both S.B. and W.A. were married on May, 1998 in a civil ceremony in the City, County, and State of New York. Following that, the parties married in an Islamic ceremony in compliance with Islamic law, also in the State of New York. They both signed a marriage contract, in which the husband promised to pay his future wife an advance mahr of $5,000.00 and, in the event of divorce, or death of the husband, a deferred mahr of $250,000.00. Two children were born of the marriage, a girl, born on July 12, 2001, and a boy, born on August 3, 2004. Both children were born in the United States.

In 2006, the defendant (husband) received an employment in the emirate of Abu Dhabi (UAE), and decided to move there. The plaintiff (wife) and children remained in the U.S. until August 2007, when they joined the plaintiff in Abu Dhabi.

Domestic Violence in Abu Dhabi
While in Abu Dhabi, the plaintiff initiated criminal proceedings against the defendant following an incident of domestic violence that occurred on January 28, 2009. After that, the marital relation soured and the wife obtained a divorce judgment from the Court of First Instance in Abu Dhabi, along with an order awarding her custody of the children and other financial relief. The divorce and custody order was affirmed on appeal to the Court of Appeal and to the Court of Cassation, which is the highest court in Abu Dhabi.

The Plaintiff Seeks Recognition of the Divorce Judgment Obtained from Abu Dhabi
In support of her motion, plaintiff submitted certified copies of the Abu Dhabi orders, judgments, and decrees, which were translated from Arabic to English by a legal translator duly licensed by the Ministry of Justice in the UAE, who attested to the correctness of the translation.

She also submitted an affidavit from this author, as expert consultant on Islamic divorce in the United States and Middle East laws, including the legal structure of the courts of the UAE.

In my affidavit, I explained the structure of the judiciary in the UAE, the legal proceedings between the parties, and the judgments and decrees rendered by the Abu Dhabi courts.

Plaintiff also submitted an affidavit from an attorney admitted to practice law in Abu Dhabi, who represented the plaintiff in connection with post-matrimonial issues. In his affidavit, he explains the legal proceedings in Abu Dhabi.

Divorce Proceedings in Abu Dhabi
On July 1, 2009, the plaintiff filed a petition for divorce in the Court of First Instance under Article 117 of the Personal Status Law of the UAE. Hearings on the divorce were held on October 13, November 8, and December 14, 2009. Both parties participated in the proceedings, and both were represented by counsel.

On December 27, 2009, in the presence of both parties, the Court of First Instance issued a judgment on the merits, granting the plaintiff a divorce from the defendant; directing the defendant to pay the plaintiff the deferred mahr of $250,000.00; directing the defendant to pay alimony for the children, including food, clothing and transportation allowances; directing the defendant to pay monthly alimony to the plaintiff. The Abu Dhabi Court also awarded the plaintiff custody of the children, and directed the defendant to pay all relevant fees and expenses.

The decision of the Court of First Instance was appealed to the Court of Appeal, which rendered a decision on April 4, 2010, and the Court of Cassation, which rendered decision on November 8, 2010. Both courts affirmed the judgment with minor modification related to the iddah Alimony.

Jurisdiction of the Abu Dhabi Courts
The defendant claimed that the parties are deemed married under the laws of New York, as the Abu Dhabi courts entered a divorce judgment based on the religious marriage, applying the laws of the Islamic Sharia, and no divorce action has been filed based upon the civil marriage. He claimed that the Abu Dhabi divorce was a religious judgment of divorce, not a civil judgment of divorce, and therefore, the New York courts should not afford it comity.

The question before the New York’s Westchester Supreme Court (Judge Francesca E. Connolly) was whether the Court of Abu Dhabi had jurisdiction over the case. The Supreme Court held that:

“Both parties were residing in Abu Dhabi when the plaintiff instituted the divorce proceedings. The divorce decree was obtained after a trial and tow appeals, including an appeal to the highest court in Abu Dhabi, the Court of Cassation, that rendered a final and binding judgment of divorce. Both parties were represented by counsel, participated in the divorce proceedings and had a full opportunity to contest jurisdiction and all other issues. There is no question that the foreign court had jurisdiction over the parties at the time the divorce judgment was issued and that it was a final binding order, thereby precluding the defendant from now collaterally attacking its validity or relitigating any of its provisions (See Borenstein v. Borenstein, 151 Misc. 160, 270 N.Y.S. 688 [Sup. Vt. N.Y. Co, 1934]; Greschler v. Greschler, 51 N.Y.2d at 376, 434 N.Y.S.2d 194, 414 N.E.2d 694).
“A court has the inherent power pursuant to the principles of comity to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment of divorce “unless there is some defect of jurisdiction shown to be against the public policy of the domestic state” (48A N.Y. Jur. 2d, Domestic Relations at 2809). “[A] party who has properly appeared in a foreign action is ordinarily precluded from attacking the resulting judgment by bringing a collateral New York proceeding …. Only where there has been a showing that the foreign judgment was fraudulently obtained … or that recognition of the judgment would conflict seriously with a compelling public policy … cab a collateral attack be entertained” (Robinson v. Robinson, 120 A.D.2d 45, 415-16, 501 N.Y.S.2d 874 [1st Dept, 1986]). “Absent some showing of fraud in the procurement of the foreign country judgment … or that recognition of the judgment would do violence to some strong public policy of this State … a party who properly appeared in the action is precluded from attacking the validity of the foreign country judgment in a collateral proceeding brought in the courts of this State) (Greschler v. Greshcler, 51 N.Y.2d at 376, 434 N.Y.S.2d 694).

The New York’s Supreme Court of Westchester County recognized the Divorce Judgment
The Court in New York recognized the divorce judgment obtained from Abu Dhabi pursuant to the doctrine of comity:

“The general principle of law is that a divorce decree obtained in a foreign jurisdiction by residents of this State, in accordance with the laws thereof, is entitled to recognition under the principle of comity unless the decree offends the public policy of the State of New York” (kraham v. Kraha, 73 Misc.2d 977, 342 N.Y.S.2d 943 [Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. 1973]). “Although not required to do so, the courts of this State generally will accord recognition to the judgments rendered in a foreign country under the doctrine of comity which is the equivalent of ful faith and credit given by the courts to judgments of our sister States” (Greschler v. Greschler, 54 N.Y.2d 368, 376, 434 N.Y.S2d 194, 414 NE.2d 694 [1980]). “Loosley, [comity] means courtesy, respect, or mutual accommodation; practically, it means that each sovereign, including the State of New York, can decide for itself which foreign country judgments it will recognize and which it won’t” (Siegel, N.Y. Prac. 472 [5th edi.])

New York’s Supreme Court of Westchester County Recognized the Custody Order of Abu Dhabi
The Supreme Court of Westchester County recognized, not only the Abu Dhabi divorce judgment, the Court also recognized all the contents of such a decree, including the custody of the children. The Supreme Court held:

“Since New York recognizes bilateral divorce decrees from foreign countries, recognition will be given to all the contents of such a decree, including a separation agreement incorporate and approved therein…”

The Court held that:

“The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) applies nationally and internationally and is designed to promote uniformity throughout the world in custody determinations (See Sobie, Practice Commentaries, [McKinney’s Cons. Laws of N.Y., Book 14]). The UCCJEA is mandatory and provides that “a child custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this article must be recognized and enforced,” except where “the child custody law of a foreign country as written or as applied violates fundamental principles of human rights” (Domestic Relations Law 75-d[2] and [3]).

The Court held that the UCCJEA “is not a reciprocal act”. There is no requirement that “the foreign country enact a UCCJEA equivalent” (See Sobie, Practice Commentaries [McKinney’s Const. Laws of N.Y., Book 14].) The statute “is designed to eliminate jurisdictional competition between courts in matters of child custody, with jurisdictional priority conferred to a child’s home state.” (Hector G. v. Josefina P., 2 Misc. 3d 801, 809, 771 N.Y.S.2d 316 [Sup. Ct. Bronx Co. 2003]).

The Court held that:

“The decision from the Court of First Instance noted that the mother usually has the right to custody of the children unless proven otherwise. The defendant made no showing to refute the custody award to the plaintiff. This award of custody to the plaintiff was affirmed following two appeals, including an appeal to the highest court in Abu Dhabi. The defendant thereafter petitioned the Abu Dhabi court to change custody from the plaintiff to the defendant based upon the fact that he had moved to the United States. Defendant’s application was denied by the Court of First Instance and affirmed on appeal.”

The Court concluded that neither party alleged that any of the child custody laws of the UAE violate fundamental principles of human right or that the Abu Dhabi courts were without jurisdiction to determine custody. “Nor does the New York’s Supreme Court of Westchester County found any such violation or lack of jurisdiction:

“Therefore, based upon the principles of comity and pursuant to Domestic Relations Law 75-d, this Court must recognize and enforce the custody determination of the Abu Dhabi courts awarding plaintiff custody.”

The Appellate Division Affirms

On January 20, 2016, the Appellate Division affirmed the judgment of the lower Court. It held:

"Although not required to do so, the courts of this State generally will accord recognition to the judgments rendered in a foreign country under the doctrine of comity which is the equivalent of full faith and credit given by the courts to judgments of our sister States" (Greschler v Greschler, 51 NY2d 368, 376; see Kuznetsov v Kuznetsova, 127 AD3d 1031). Comity should be [*2]extended to uphold the validity of a foreign divorce decree absent a showing of fraud in its procurement or that recognition of the judgment would do violence to a strong public policy of New York (see Matter of Gotlib v Ratsutsky, 83 NY2d 696, 699-700; Greschler v Greschler, 51 NY2d at 376; Farag v Farag, 4 AD3d 502, 504; Azim v Saidazimova, 280 AD2d 566, 567). Moreover, in extending comity to uphold the validity of a foreign divorce decree, New York courts will generally recognize all the provisions of such decrees, including any agreement which may have been incorporated therein, unless modification is required by reason of some compelling public policy (see Greschler v Greschler, 51 NY2d at 376-377; Rabbani v Rabbani, 178 AD2d 637, 638).

Moreover, the Supreme Court providently determined that the plaintiff was entitled to an award of an attorney's fee and expenses incurred in connection with the issues of custody, child support, maintenance, and distribution of property (see Domestic Relations Law § 237[a], [b]).” 

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:

Author of the book titled “The Qur’an: Misinterpreted, Mistranslated, and Misread. The Aramaic Language of the Qur’an”.
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:


Unknown said...

We are professionals in law and provide the grantee for justice. We are Best lawyers in Dubai, Dubai, UAE, Egypt in investment, corporate, family, construction, banking, labor, maritime and commercial law.

Unknown said...

I want to thank Dr.Agbazara for his job in my family, this is man who left me and the kids for another woman without any good reasons, i was pain and confuse,till one day when i saw Dr.Agbazara contact, then i contacted him and he help me cast a reunion spell that help my situation with 48hours, since I then the situation has changed, everything is moving well, my husband who left me is now back to his family. reach DR.AGBAZARA TEMPLE via email if you have any problem at:
( )
OR whatsapp or call him on +2348104102662.

Carol Williams said...


My name is CAROL WILLIAMS. Me and my boyfriend were together for 8 months &
its been 6 months since we separated. I still love him, but some how feel
its unfair. Why love someone who ovb doesnt love you back? Ive prayed &
prayed for these months & nothing. He is still with his new girlfriend(whom
he lives with) but it doesnt mean I have to look for help The first weeks
after the break up I was in my knees praying looking for help, them i fine
a comment online how a spell caster help to restored relationship get ex
lover back, ” so i decided to give a try coz i love my boyfriend so much.
so i contacted PROPHET OYINBO and told him all my problem and he gave me
100%guarantee that i will have my boyfriend back after the spell so i was
gifted and lucky to have contacted him i did everything he asked of me and
to my greatest surprise a day after the spell, my boyfriend called me and
apologised for what he did to me and ask for my forgiveness to come back
home for me, I got really hurt & go through those moments in which he left
me, after all PROPHET OYINBO did for me, i forgave him and he came back
home with more love and happiness all thanks to PROPHET OYINBO the real
Africa spell caster so far google recommended this year.. So plz, if you
need any help contact him too on this. You will see in conclusion you have
to just trust the process, PROPHET OYINBO is a good real spell caster so
call him up on +2348074066640 or email him on his email adress

Anonymous said...


Are you in need of Urgent Loan Here all problem regarding Loan is solve between a short period of time with a low interest rate of 2% and

duration more than 20 years what are you waiting for apply now and solve your problem or start a business with Loan paying of various

bills I think you have come to the right place just email us.
Contact us on whatspp +447513195409
Mr Osman Ibrahim

Unknown said...

DO YOU NEED FINANCIAL HELP? 5000$ to 100,000,000.00$
No credit check
Repaid over 1 year to maximum of 25 years at a low interest rate of 3%.
Approval in 15-30 minutes
Open 7 days a week from 24/7
Service available nationwide
Whatsapp:+1 (646)9025821

Osman Ibrahim said...

Do you need a loan? are you indebted and wish to be debt free, do you need a free mortgage, business or personal loan ? Then you are at the right place. Do you need a loan at a reasonable low interest rate? Are you interested in paying off your debts without stress? contact us
Loan Application Form Needed:
Full Name:
Phone number:
Loan Amount Needed:
Loan Duration:
Monthly income:
Have you applied for a loan before?:

Osman Ibrahim said...

Do you need a loan? are you indebted and wish to be debt free, do you need a free mortgage, business or personal loan ? Then you are at the right place. Do you need a loan at a reasonable low interest rate? Are you interested in paying off your debts without stress? contact us
Loan Application Form Needed:
Full Name:
Phone number:
Loan Amount Needed:
Loan Duration:
Monthly income:
Have you applied for a loan before?:

progresiveloan said...


I feel so blessed and fulfilled. I've been reluctant in applying for a loan i heard about online because everything seems too good to be true, but i was convinced & shocked when my friend at my place of work got a loan from Progresive Loan INC. & we both confirmed it and i also went ahead to apply, today am a proud owner of my company and making money for my family and a happy mom. Well i'm Annie Joe by name from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. As a single mom with three kids it was hard to get a job that could take care of me and my kids and I had so much bills to pay and to make it worst I had bad credit so i couldn't obtain a loan from any bank. I had an ideal to start a business as an hair stylist but had no capital to start, Tried all type of banks but didn't work out until I was referred by my co-worker to a godsent lender advertising to give a loan at 2% interest rate. I sent them a mail using their official email address ( and I got a reply immediately and my loan was approved, and I was directed to the Bank site where I withdrawed my loan directly to my account. To cut the story short am proud of my hair stylist company and promise to testify to the world how my life was transformed.. If you are in need of any kind of loan, i advise you contact Progresive Loan INC and be financially lifted Email: OR Call/Text +1(603) 786-7565

Unknown said...

Good Day Sir/Madam: Do you need an urgent loan to finance your business or in any purpose? We are certified and legitimate and international licensed loan lender we offer loans to Business firms. Individuals, companies firms, corporate bodies at an affordable interest rate of 3%. It might be a short or long term loan or even if you have poor credit. We shall process your loan as soon as we receive your application. We are an independent financial institution. We have built up an excellent reputation over the years in providing various types of loans to thousands of our customers. We offer Educational loan, Business loan, home loan, Agricultural loan, Personal loan, Auto loan with either a good or bad credit history. If you are interested in our above loan offer you are advice to fill the below information and return to us for more details. You can contact us with this email ( we shall respond to you as soon as we receive your loan application details below.

First name:
Middle name:
Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):
Marital status:
Total Amount Needed:
Time Duration:
Currency Needed
Zip/postal code:
Monthly Income:
Which sites did you know about us.....
( )for immediate attention. Contact
us now and get an urgent loan within two (2) days!!!
Mr Abdul Muqse

Instant Loan within 24hrs said...

If you must contact any firm with reference to securing a loan online with low interest rate of 3% and better repayment plans/schedule. You can contact them via email on {} or whatsapp @ +15754148400

Abdul Muqse said...

I am a person who offers loans to the national. With capital that will be used to grant loans between short-term and long-term individuals ranging from $5, 000 to $500,000,000 all the serious people being in the real needs, the interest rate is 3% over the entire repayment period. I make loans Financial in all areas. I am available to satisfy my customers within 24hours, see 1 day after your application send replies to the following E-mail address:
Thanks and look forward to your prompt reply. 


Do you need Personal Loan?
Business Cash Loan?
Unsecured Loan
Fast and Simple Loan?
Quick Application Process?
Approvals within 24-72 Hours?
No Hidden Fees Loan?
Funding in less than 1 Week?
Get unsecured working capital?
Contact Us At
Phone number :+15165910949 (Whatsapp Only)

*Commercial Loans.
*Personal Loans.
*Business Loans.
*Investments Loans.
*Development Loans.
*Acquisition Loans .
*Construction loans.
*Credit Card Clearance Loan
*Debt Consolidation Loan
*Business Loans And many More:

Full Name:................
Loan Amount Needed:.
Purpose of loan:.......
Loan Duration:..
Marital status:....
Home Address:..
Mobile / Cell:....
Monthly Income:....

Contact Us At
Phone number :For call or watssap us +15165910949

Stranger said...

Hey there,

How is your marriage going? Be honest…how is it ACTUALLY going?

If you’re reading this e-mail right now, then chances are your marriage isn’t what it used to be… and maybe it’s so bad, that you feel like your world is falling apart.

You feel like all the passion, the love, and romance have completely faded.

You feel like you and your wife can’t stop yelling at each other.

And maybe you feel that there’s almost nothing you can do to save your marriage, no matter how hard you try.

But you’re wrong.

You CAN save your marriage — even if your wife says she wants to get a divorce. You CAN rebuild that passion you felt for one another when you first kissed. And you can bring back that love and devotion you felt for one another when both of you said, “I love you” for the first time.

If you feel like your marriage is worth fighting for, then do yourself a favour and watch this quick video that will teach you everything you need to know about salvaging the most important thing in the world:

=>Save Your Marriage Now (VIDEO)<=

In this video, you’ll learn the three critical mistakes that most couples commit that rip marriages apart. Most couples will never learn how to fix these three simple mistakes.

You’ll also learn a simple, proven “Marriage Saving” method that makes marriage counsellors look like kindergarten teachers.

So if you feel like your marriage is about to take its last few breaths, then I urge you to watch this quick video:

Make Your Wife Adore You Again ==> Fix Your Marriage – Start Making HAPPY Memories<=

You’ve got nothing to lose.

All the best,


PS. Just take 3 mins to watch the video.. if you don’t, you may miss the one tip that could save your marriage. Click here: =>Transform Your Marriage in Minutes<=

ariana curtis said...

*We sell(encrypt) this cards to all our customers and interested buyers worldwide,
the card has a daily withdrawal limit of $5000 and up to $50,000 spending
limit in stores and unlimited on POS.*


sean schinder said...

Hello everyone, i would like to share my experience on this platform. i have been hearing of Blank Atm for a while and i applied through a few people but i was scammed, not until i found Mr George who saved me from scammers, i got my blank ATM card in 5 days after application and tried the encrypted card in an ATM machine and pos cash store to my greatest surprise i was able to withdraw $3000 and that was the daily rate i applied for. to be honest there is no risk involved the card is not traceable and has an infrared signal that blocks off CCTV during your withdrawals. i just payed my daughters tuition fee and cleared my mortgage debts, i am also richer and started a business that is doing fine. Mr George is really a life saver and he is very genuine. You can contact him with this email address:
Best wishes

DrMeads said...

Buy IELTS Certificate without Exam
Fake Drivers License
Buy Fake Passport Real
IELTS Certificate Online
Buy Passport Online
How Get IELTS Certificate without Exam
Registered IELTS Certificate
Buy IELTS Certificate
IELTS Certificate without Exam
Real IELTS Certificate
Genuine IELTS Certificate
IELTS Certificate Online Validation
IELTS Certificate Kuwait, Dubai, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
Registered IELTS Certificate
Buy IELTS Score Card Online
Buy Real UK CA US Swiss Passport OnlineBuy
Buy Registered passport

michelle woods said...

Hello everyone, really dreams do come through, i no longer have to apply for loans and worry over my bad credit scores, i got my blank ATM card after so many trails all thanks to Mr George, if you are thinking if its actually real the answer is YES. Mr George is very good at his job i applied for the card and got it shipped to my country 5 days later and i have been using the card for two months its totally untraceable, my life has transformed from paring an apartment in the slums to purchasing an executive condo with luxury furniture's and now my children can now attend quality schools, Mr George is an angel sent from God to the poor and needy. i am writing this with tears of joy as Mr George has removed my family from the life of want to the life of satisfaction. you can contact him through this email:

blogger said...

I just want to give a quick advise to any one out there that is having difficulty in his or her relationship to contact Dr.Agbazara because he is the only one that is capable to bring back broken relationship or broken marriages within time limit of 48 hours. You can contact Dr.Agbazara by WhatsApp/calling him on his mobile +2348104102662 or write him through his email at ( )

Andi's Law said...

Our experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney provide experienced and knowledgeable representation in a range of legal matters, and concentrate on litigation of cases involving auto accidents with extensive injuries.

flourish loan said...

I am a private loan lender which have all take to be a genuine lender i give out the best loan to my client at a very convenient rate.The interest rate of this loan is 3%.i give out loan to public and private individuals.the maximum amount i give out in this loan is $1,000,000.00 USD why the minimum amount i give out is 5000.for more information contact us email

Your Full Details:
Full Name :………
Country :………….
Sex :………….
Tel :………….
Occupation :……..
Amount Required :…………
Purpose of the Loan :……..
Loan Duration :…………
Phone Number :………
Contact email;

sonia garry said...


With so much in my heart i am here to express myself on how Dr. GBOJIE saved my marriage from divorce. Myself and my husband were having some misunderstanding and it was tearing our marriage apart to the extend my husband was seeking for a divorce. So i have no option than to go to the internet to seek for solution to my problem it was there i came across Dr. GBOJIE details and about how he has helped a lot of people by restoring there relationship. I contact Dr.GBOJIE and in less than 48 hours my husband cancelled the divorce papers. Now myself and my husband live together in peace and harmony all thanks to Dr.GBOJIE for saving my marriage from breaking up. Dr. GBOJIE contact information are via email: , or call his phone number or WhatsApp: +2349066410185 .or check out his website :