Islamic Custom at a Crossroads with Florida law

A recent Bay News 9 article brought to light an Islamic custom known as a “Sadaq.” Generally speaking, this tradition is part of the Islamic marriage, often in arranged marriages, and is similar to the concept of a dowry. The Sadaq, or sometimes referred to as a “Mahr,” provides for an amount of money to be paid from a groom to his bride for her to spend as she would like.

In a local divorce case pending in Pinellas County, the Husband is expected to argue in Court that a Sadaq of $20,000 is all the Wife should receive due to their Islamic law marriage and contract. The issue for the Court will be to determine what to do when a marriage and contract entered into under Islamic law is at odds with Florida family law’s provision for Equitable Distribution of marital assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage. Does this type of contract preclude the Wife for asserting her rights under Florida law? The court is expected to rule on these issues in June of this year.