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Family Law in Iran

In some cultures, marriage has a religious base while in others, it base on tradition and custom. In mere legal view, it is just a contract like other contracts.
Family law also includes inheritance. According to statistics, between 1980 and 1990, the number of foreign born Iranians in the United States increased by 74 percent.

From birth to death there is always a Law or a set of Laws governing judicial aspect of a person’s life: there is a country you were born in, there is country you live in, and there is a country you sign a contract in. since every county has a legal system, every aspect of life has a Law to govern.

In order to make it easy, there are categories in judicial behaviors. Each category has a particular set of rules. Five categories are most common: 1- Status 2- Succession 3- Contract 4- Procedure 5- Tort. This is an academic paper on this topic from Springer.

“Conflict of Laws” is the branch of legal studies that deals with this topic.

In Iran, all personal issues are under “Status” category. Marriage, Divorce, Capacity, and inheritance are Status or Personal Status. According to Article number 6 of Iran Civil Code: Iran Laws about Personal Status apply to all Iran nationals even if reside abroad. See Iran Civil Code

Family law in Iran had its own up and downs because of its nature which is in Islamic laws. Before and after revolution, in 1975, 1992, 2007, and 2013 Iran Civil Code about family law changed in the title of “Protection of Family Act”. These Changes mostly are about Article No. 1078 to 1119 and also Articles No 1133 about divorce. The translation of Iran civil Code that you can find online does not contain these changes. It is actually the only version you can find online.

Because of limitations of Islamic Law, the lawmaking bodies, tried to improve fairness in family law by changing the conditions and stipulations in marriage agreements (which are in form of deed) It was not so long ago that a wife did not have right to divorce unless she was able to prove that her life with her husband becomes miserable.

As you can see in Article No 1133 of Iran Civil Code a man can divorce his wife whenever he wishes to do so but a woman cannot. This Article actually says that the divorce is an exclusive right of man so a woman does not have this right and still does not.

The courts also tried to make some changes in this area by wide interpretations of laws and marriage agreements.

Because of very slow changes in family law and also living situations in Iran, decision of a court about dowry is always unfair either for wife or husband.

In latest changes in “Family Protection Act” the dowry is payable in maximum amount of 110 gold coins. The dowry more than this amount is payable only if the husband living costs and his income allows.

In international marriage cases, there are some other issues:

1- What will happen to nationality of spouses?

2- What if one of the spouses has kids?

3- If there is a dispute, which law will govern to dispute?

4- What will happen after divorce?

There is no quick answer to these questions. That is why we dedicated a category to “Family law”. In Iran Laws, Marriage only affects the nationality of wife. Also if the husband obtains Iranian nationality, his wife and kids become Iran nationals. Of course there are some exceptions.

A woman who marries an Iranian husband becomes Iran national. See who is a foreigner? If Iranian husband dies, the woman can revert to her original nationality. Same is in case of divorce. Of course there is also an exception. If they have kids, woman cannot revert to her original nationality until the kids turn to 18 years old.

An Iranian woman who marries a foreign husband remains an Iranian national. Also in this case, the law of husband’s nationality plays a role. We will explain all of these issues.

Another topic in this regard is about inheritance. See inheritance in Iran.

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