According to the NC Court of Appeals, an Islamic religious divorce did not end the marriage.

Mussa v. Palmer-Mussa; (bigamy and annulment) ; Filed December 6, 2011, NO. COA11-209, from a Wake County decisions.

Husband and Wife were married in November 1997 and separated in February 2009. During their marriage, the parties had three children. Earlier in 1997, the Wife had become married to another man in an Islamic religious marriage ceremony performed by a construction worker. The Wife later performed the Islamic divorce ceremony from this man, returned her dowry and declared herself divorced. Wife believes she was divorced from his man before getting engaged and married to Mr. Mussa.

Wife and Husband lived together as husband and wife for twelve years, purchased property together, raised their children together, and filed taxes together. In 2008, Wife filed a complaint for divorce from bed and board and was awarded child support, postseparation support and attorney’s fees. In 2009, Husband filed a Complaint for an annulment based on bigamy. The Court of Appeals determined that Wife and Husband were not actually married because Wife was technically still married to her first husband and therefore the second marriage, to Mr. Mussa was void.

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