Court rules marriage without wedding party grounds for divorce

Published 11.09.2019 00:24

You can be a miser or destitute but throwing a wedding party is a must if you don't want to pay alimony, Turkey's highest court ruled in a landmark case.

In a case brought before the Supreme Court of Appeals, a wife identified only by her initials H.A. filed for divorce from her husband Ş.A. for failing to fulfill his promise to organize a wedding party. The couple was married in 2010 but the husband kept postponing the wedding party he promised and in their third year, H.A. decided to file for a divorce in a local court, claiming she was humiliated by not having a wedding party. This was actually only one of the reasons for the divorce as she also claimed her husband did not want her to work and they were impoverished. Ş.A., in his defense, told the court he was still in love with his wife but "couldn't find the money" to throw a wedding party. The local court sided with wife and ruled for divorce but the husband took the case to the Supreme Court. A chamber of the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, citing that the husband, who cannot afford to, does not have to hold a wedding party. However, an upper chamber of the court annulled the verdict, reasoning that the incident "shook the foundation of the union of marriage."

Judges ruled that the couple had agreed to have a wedding party in the near future when they got married and they even prepared wedding invitation cards and picked a venue and date for the party. "The wife's relatives were also invited to the planned wedding party but it did not take place," the ruling said, agreeing with wife's claim that she was humiliated. "A wedding party is not a legal necessity for a marriage to be valid but it is a tradition in Turkish culture. The scale or venue of the party depends on the customs and the economic status of the couple but it is, in a way, a declaration of marriage. It is clear that the sides agreed upon it but it is also evident that the wife lost her trust in her husband and felt insulted because the husband shied away from organizing a wedding party," the court said in its final verdict.

Commenting on the verdict, lawyer Fatih Karamercan says courts can now state not having a wedding party as a valid reason for divorce. However, he warns that the verdict should be interpreted differently in each divorce case based on the economic status of the spouses.

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