Preure v. Benhadj-Djillali

Decision Date31 July 2009
Docket NumberNo. 5D08-1967.,5D08-1967.
Citation15 So.3d 877
PartiesMalika PREURE, Appellant, v. Raouf BENHADJ-DJILLALI, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Sherri K. DeWitt and Andrew T. Windle, of DeWitt Law Firm, P.A., Orlando, for Appellant.

Raouf Benhadj-Djillali, Orlando, Pro Se.

ORFINGER, J.

Malika Preure appeals from a final judgment in this domestic relations proceeding. We affirm the trial court's resolution of the core issue in this appeal that the parties' religious wedding ceremony in Oregon was not a legally valid marriage. However, we reverse as to several other aspects of the amended final judgment.

Whether the parties' 2003 Oregon religious ceremony amounted to a valid marriage, with its attendant legal consequences, is determined in accordance with the law of the place where the marriage occurred. Goldman v. Dithrich, 131 Fla. 408, 179 So. 715 (1938). In 2003, Ms. Preure and Mr. Raouf Benhadj-Djillali participated in a religious marriage ceremony in Oregon, and subsequently relocated to Orange County, Florida. They never applied for or obtained a government issued marriage license. They also never paid a government fee to get civilly married, never supplied their vital statistics to the government, never received a marriage certificate, and never recorded their marriage in Oregon's public records, which are all required by Oregon law. Still, while Ms. Preure expressed a desire to legally marry Mr. Benhadj-Djillali on several occasions after the 2003 religious ceremony, she claimed in the Orange County proceedings that a valid marriage had been effected. Mr. Benhadj-Djillali disagrees.

Ms. Preure admits that as a general rule, a marriage license is required in Oregon for a lawful marriage to occur. Or.Rev.Stat. § 106.041(1) (2003); see In re Wilmarth's Estate, 27 Or.App. 303, 556 P.2d 990, 992 (1976). Nevertheless, she relies on section 106.150(2) of the Oregon Revised Statutes, a general savings clause, to validate the marriage. That statute provides:

All marriages, to which there are no legal impediments, solemnized before or in any religious organization or congregation according to the established ritual or form commonly practiced therein, are valid. In such case, the person presiding or officiating in the religious organization or congregation shall deliver to the county clerk who issued the marriage license the application, license and record of marriage in accordance with ORS 106.170.

Or.Rev.Stat. § 106.150(2) (2003) (emphasis added). We conclude this savings clause is inapplicable because it presupposes the existence of a marriage license issued by the appropriate county clerk. The lack of a marriage license in this case was a legal impediment because the parties neither sought nor obtained an Oregon marriage license in connection with the 2003 religious ceremony. By referencing delivery of the marriage license to the appropriate county clerk, this statute ascribes legal significance to the existence of such license, which itself evidences the intent of the parties to enter into a legal marriage.

Additionally, Oregon decisional law indicates that a lawful marriage presumes that the parties at least undertook efforts to satisfy the state's...

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6 cases
  • Cohen v. Shushan
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 15 Marzo 2017
    ...marriage is determined in accordance with the law of the place where the putative marriage occurred" (citing Preure v. Benhadj–Djillali , 15 So.3d 877, 877 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009) )). Nor does the legal presumption of a marriage's validity the dissent cites carry the argument any farther, becau......
  • Hall v. MAAL
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 29 Abril 2010
    ...by the clerk was valid." Id. at 33.1 The Fifth District addressed a similar set of facts under Oregon law. In Preure v. Benhadj-Djillali, 15 So.3d 877 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009), the parties participated in a religious ceremony in Oregon, but did not apply for nor obtain a marriage license. Ms. Pr......
  • Roberts v. Opalich
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • 21 Diciembre 2023
    ...of invalidity," of which Husband cites none. Shelton, 375 So.2d 32, at 33. {¶17} Husband's citation to Preure v. Benhadj-Djillali, 15 So.3d 877 (Fla.2009), as support for his contention that the marriage was invalid because the parties never obtained a Florida marriage license is not on poi......
  • Hall v. Maal, Case No. 1D08-4776 (Fla. App. 10/20/2009)
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 20 Octubre 2009
    ...without a license."). The Fifth District Court of Appeal addressed a similar set of facts under Oregon law. In Preure v. Benhadi-Djillali, 15 So. 3d 877 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009), the parties participated in a religious ceremony in Oregon, but never applied for or obtained a marriage license. Ms.......
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