Friday, October 27, 2006

Nebraska Supreme Court allows Pakistani "arranged (maybe forced) marriages to emancipate underage girls, relieving father of child supportMillatmal v. Millatmal, 272 Neb. 452 Filed October 27, 2006. No. S-05-237. Husband and wife, as well as their two daughters, Nelam and Naheed, are U.S. citizens. Nelam was born June 25, 1985, and was married via an arranged marriage in Pakistan in late 2002. She currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband. Naheed was born November 18, 1986, and in the summer of 2002 was also married via an arranged marriage in Pakistan. Naheed resides in Omaha with Parveen and attends school. Naheed's husband still lives in Pakistan. According to the record, there are currently no divorce actions pending in either the United States or Pakistan with respect to these marriages. Wife claims Husband should pay child support until the girls each reached age 19. Nebraska Supreme court recognizes a valid foreign marriage as a cause to emancipate minor children, relieving the father of child support. See 42-117 RRS Neb. There is no indication from the record that the marriage was invalid under Pakistani law. Thus, under the plain language of § 42-117, we must deem Naheed's marriage valid in Nebraska. Although Parveen's brief claims that in a marriage where consent was obtained by force or fraud, the marriage is voidable, the record does not reflect that either Naheed or Parveen have taken any steps to void this marriage. Thus, the marriage is not, for purposes of our analysis, void. Given that Naheed's Pakistani marriage is considered valid in Nebraska, we conclude that Naheed is emancipated. As a result of her emancipation, the district court abused its discretion in ordering Taj to pay child support to Parveen. Accordingly, we vacate the district court's award of child support.

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