From: ``Lifting the Veil of Ignorance: Personalizing the Marriage Contract,'' (Eric Rasmusen and Jeffrey Stake,Indiana Law Journal, (Spring 1998) 73: 454-502. ).


Two examples of commitment devices in marriage.

(notes for G570)


One case in which a court upheld such a payment is Akileh v. Elchahal, 666 So.2d 246, District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District. Jan. 12, 1996. In that case, the wife's father granted the husband a sadaq consisting of $1 paid immediately and a deferred payment of $50,000. (A sadaq is a postponed dowry which protects the woman from divorce in Islam.) The wife left the husband, and the husband sued for the money and lost. Florida law supported the husband's right to the sadaq payment in general, but the court ruled that he had no right in this case because, under Islamic law, the wife would forfeit the payment to the husband only for fault such as adultery.


Another example of Islamic contracts of this kind, though a case in which fault was not relevant, is Aziz v. Aziz, 127 Misc.2d 1013, 488 N.Y.S.2d 123 (Sup.Ct.1985). In Aziz, the parties entered into a mahr, a type of antenuptial agreement which required a payment of $5,032, with $32 advanced, and $5,000 deferred until divorce. The court held that the mahr conformed to New York contract requirements and "its secular terms are enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony." Aziz, 488 N.Y.S.2d at 124.