Will the family court enforce a mahr?

Mahr is a form of marriage agreement in which the husband promises to pay his wife (in cash or other forms of property) if the marriage ends or if he dies. Muslim marriage contracts always include a mahr, whether the marriage takes place in Canada or elsewhere.

Over the last three decades, there has been a very uneven response by Canadian courts to the enforcement of mahr. Some courts have seen the mahr as a form of domestic contract and enforced it under those provisions of family law. Others have ruled that it is a religious document and so unenforceable by the court.

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