Ghassemi v. Ghassemi

998 So. 2d 731

 

RULE:

In Louisiana, if a foreign marriage is valid in the state where it was contracted, the marriage is accorded a presumption of validity.

FACTS:

The parties, who were first cousins, were married in Iran. The family court declined to consider Iranian law or Iranian documents and ruled that the marriage was invalid. The court determined that the marriage was not prohibited by Civ. Code art. 1045 (Iran). Thus, the applicable conflict of laws provision was La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3520, which addressed the validity of marriages that were valid where they were contracted, rather than La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3519. An appeal followed.

ISSUE:

Was a marriage between first cousins, performed in Iran, valid under Louisiana law?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The marriage did not violate a strong public policy of Louisiana and thus had to be presumed valid. Although Louisiana prohibited first cousin marriages under La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 90 and deemed such marriages absolutely null under La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 94 when contracted in Louisiana, the court stated that first cousin marriages were not considered odious.

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