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Court Determines if Couple was Married through Common Law Marriage


Queens Family 19

This is a hearing for divorce and the plaintiff and defendants are Chaachou versus Chaachou et al.

Original Case

A New York Custody Lawyer said this is a divorce hearing that dealt with a divorce, suit money, and counsel fees as well as both temporary and permanent alimony. The relief in the case deals with a common law marriage. There is a petition for certiorari that seeks to end an order that holds that a common law marriage is not sufficient to support alimony, suit money, and attorney’s fees.

The respondent of the case, Khudourie Chaachou denies that a common law marriage existed and all of the allegations from the bill of complaint. It is contended that he in fact accepted the advantages, benefits, and pleasures of a common law marriage both openly and publicly for many years, but is not willing to accept the responsibilities for the marriage now.

An order was made by the Chancellor for a Special Master to be appointed to take the testimony on behalf of both the parties in regard to temporary suit money, alimony, and counsel fees. The order and report did not sever the issue of the common law marriage and the Special Master only had the authority to hear the testimonies of both parties and determine whether temporary alimony, counsel fees, and suit money should be awarded to the plaintiff. A New York Family Lawyer said the Special Master was not authorized to determine whether or not a common law marriage existed between the parties. The Special Master was required to determine if prima facie showing the existence of such a marriage was basis for the recommendation of attorney fees and alimony.

Current Case

Currently it is to be determined whether or not a common law marriage existed between the two parties. The Special Master heard testimony from 47 witnesses and also received several written depositions. There were over one hundred exhibits filed and another fifty exhibits that were marked for identification.

From the information provided it is found that the petitioner of the case was around 46 and born in Turkey. The respondent was from Iraq. Each of them has been naturalized as an American citizen and the two had known each other since the year 1935 when the former husband of the petitioner had a business in Atlanta and the two formed a business relationship. A Nassau Couny Family Lawyer said the respondent was injured in 1941 and at this time the petitioner offered assistance while he was in the hospital. The respondent then asked the petitioner to move to Miami Beach and run one of his hotels. The petitioner divorced her husband and the relationship with the respondent continued to be friendly through 1944.

In 1944 the respondent bought a home in Miami Beach and alleges that a marriage took place in this home in December of 1944. This marriage has no certificate and the reasoning is that the he did not want his family to know because his mother was a strict Jew and would die if he married a gentile.

Other evidence provided shows that they lived together for a time frame of at least five years and the couple regarded themselves as married to their friends and the general public.

Court Ruling

A Queens Family Lawyer found that the there is enough evidence provided to assume a common law marriage and the award for alimony, suit money, and attorney’s fees will be granted to the plaintiff.

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