Case Number: 2021-020622


In Appeals

After respondent filed a complaint for custody of the parties’ minor child, appellant filed a counterclaim for divorce. Alternatively, appellant sought to establish that she was respondent’s putative spouse based on the parties’ participation in a religious ceremony called a Nikah. Appellant asserted that both parties believed they were married after the ceremony. Respondent countered that the Nikah was a ceremony only and both parties were aware that it did not result in a legally binding marriage. The district court concluded that they putative spouse doctrine did not apply because both parties consciously and jointly decided not to take the steps necessary to perform a legally recognizable marriage. On appeal, appellant challenges the district court’s characterization of the parties’ relationship.

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