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'Anti-Sharia' Laws Have Other Religions Wondering About Divorce & Family Law Fall-Out

An anti-Sharia bill gaining momentum in the Florida Legislature would prohibit Islamic religious law from trumping state law in matters of divorce and family law. Yet in an example of the "law of unintended consequences," the law could also affect the laws or complicate the practices of other religions, including Judaism.

Then again, this may be much ado about nothing. While many attorneys generally are against laws that legislate matters best left up to the courts, for their part, courts generally don't rule on religious elements of family issues.

In my Fort Lauderdale family law practice, I've seen foreign law or religious tenets affect custody or the equitable distribution of assets. To be sure, most of those agreements, when based on Sharia or religious law, especially from Middle Eastern cultures, are very favorable to the husband or father.

Courts may find in favor of such agreements, ruling that prenuptial agreements that don't violate public policy of the state of Florida are enforceable. Yet, if a Sharia-based agreement says the father will get custody in the event of a divorce, this takes away the court's ability to weigh and determine what's in the best interest of the child. Often, courts in this case will find the agreement unenforceable.

South Florida family law attorneys will follow this and other actions closely to see how they affect the rights of individuals seeking divorce, the discretion of the courts, and future family court cases.

The Law Office of Barry I. Finkel P.A., handles complex divorce litigation for a variety of clients, including high net worth individuals. As a divorce and family law firm, the practice serves the needs of the entire family. Established in Fort Lauderdale / Broward County, Florida, in 1992, and now in Boca Raton, the firm's lawyers provide trusted matrimonial counsel to clients facing turbulent times and unsettling circumstances. For a consultation or to schedule an appointment, please call 954-776-1414.

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