LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

Married in Australia & Husband Married Again Overseas?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Liberty, 4 July 2014.

  1. Liberty

    Liberty Member

    Joined:
    4 July 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello.
    I was married 20 years ago in Australia and have two children. My husband has just told me that he is marrying OS Islamically (in a country that allows polygamy). The family home is in my name and we have an property investment in joint names (both in Australia). Will this other woman have any legal right to our property ( property settlement) in Australia?
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

    Joined:
    28 April 2014
    Messages:
    1,722
    Likes Received:
    404
    Are you still his wife?
     
    winston wolf likes this.
  3. Liberty

    Liberty Member

    Joined:
    4 July 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes. At the moment. This is all very new.
     
  4. Liberty

    Liberty Member

    Joined:
    4 July 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I should clarify. I am legally still his wife although we separated when he told me his news. I do not accept or agree with multiple wives and need to know if my children and I are protected from his decision under Australian law.
     
  5. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

    Joined:
    28 April 2014
    Messages:
    1,722
    Likes Received:
    404
    The law of marriage in Australia (which is non-religious)
    does not allow for polygamous marriage (that is, more than one legal spouse at a time).

    Although it is perfectly possible to legally marry in Australia using Islamic doctrine
    (just as a legal marriage can be entered into using the doctrine of any other faith),
    as a matter of law in Australia, only the first marriage "counts".

    So if you are, and remain, married to him under Australian law,
    then you are the legal wife.
    It is not relevant that you are not currently living with him.*

    As a matter of law, religious doctrine (of any faith) that allows for second and later wives
    has no effect in Australia - they cannot be a "wife" in the way that you are.
    Whatever the law in the country where he is, and regardless of religious doctrine,
    so long as he is married to you, then so far as the law in Australia is concerned,
    he cannot be in a valid marriage** with anyone else.

    Likewise, religious doctrine is irrelevant to the law about how a marriage ends,
    or what happens when it does (such as what happens to children and property).

    In Australia, it is usual that the former husband and wife make an agreement
    (often called a "settlement") as a result of ending a marriage.
    Sometimes, they can do this privately. Sometimes, they need the help of the Family Court to do so.
    There are people here better qualified than me to explain how that works.
    But I do not see how an unrelated person, overseas, can have a sustainable claim.
    I suggest that you seek the advice of a solicitor who works in the area of family law.


    -------------------------------
    Footnotes:

    * Yes, separation is a proof of irretrievable breakdown of a marriage
    (for divorce proceedings), but living in the same residence is not a proof of being (or still being) married.


    ** That said, it is possible to be still married to somebody, but be estranged
    (often called "separated") from them, and be in an established (albeit de facto)
    relationship with someone else). Such as man having a new girlfriend while separated from his wife.
     
    Liberty likes this.
  6. Liberty

    Liberty Member

    Joined:
    4 July 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Tim
     
  7. Elaine

    Elaine Member

    Joined:
    16 July 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am in a similar but different situation! I have been married to my husband by an Iranian marriage since May 1981 (registered, legally binding under the local laws of Iran, been to court in Iran had it checked). 1981 was the time of the Iranian Revolution. On re-entering England we were told to marry again in England as some guy in Immigration said not sure on the laws in Iran, so just remarry here within 3 months. Really long story but short version is got divorced in April 2008 but reconciled before the final divorce certificate came through. Husband was having mid life crisis, said Iranian marriage only one important to him. We carried on as married couple until he arranged a marriage behind my back with his cousin (hadn't seen/didnt know for 45 years), applied for Prospective Marriage Visa, brought her into Australia. We separated of course! now fighting Immigration and Attorney General that I am his legal wife, now a polygamous marriage. I have been told I HAVE TO go to court to seek the Validity of Marriage under Australia law. Why so, they think the Australian divorce covers the Iranian marriage, it doesn't. Iran does not accept western divorce. Loads more to the story, criminal charges may be laid against my husband in Iran, he has lied over there.
    HELP please
     
  8. Elaine

    Elaine Member

    Joined:
    16 July 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh forgot to mention, my husband married her, his cousin, under Iranian law in Tehran before entering on the PM Visa and then married her again under Ausralian law - even though I warned Immigration and Births Deaths and Marriages I am his wife.
     
  9. Elaine

    Elaine Member

    Joined:
    16 July 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Liberty, I would love to talk with you if you agree.
     

Share This Page

Loading...