New Mexico  |  Family Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 8/29/13, 6:31 am

my wife served me with divorce paperwork; she was married previously in california the her husband at that time obtained a dominican replublic divorce. we then married; i found out since then that california does not recognize that paperwork as valid am i really married to her or is the marriage void? I currently live in NM which does not recognize the paperwork as a valid divorce.

1 Answer

Answered on: 8/29/13, 7:46 am by George Chandler

"Regardless of its validity in the nation awarding it, the courts of this country will not generally recognize a judgment of divorce rendered by the courts of a foreign nation as valid to terminate the existence of the marriage unless, by the standards of the jurisdiction in which recognition is sought, at least one of the spouses was a good-faith domiciliary in the foreign nation at the time the decree was rendered." LORENZO v LORENZO, 1973-NMSC-062, 85 N.M. 305, 512 P.2d 65

July 13, 1973. Also WATSON V. BLAKELY, 1987-NMCA-147, 106 N.M. 687, 748 P.2d 984 (Ct. App. 1987).

These are New Mexico cases relevant to your question. You can get them from the new mexico supreme court web site.

You don't say where you married her, and the answer depends on that. New Mexico (and many other states possibly including California) only recognizes foreign divorces if one of the parties was a good faith resident in the country. If he just went there to get a divorce it would likely not be recognized by NM. If you were married in New Mexico it is probably void. If you were married in california, whether you were legally married in California would depend on whether California recognizes the divorce. If California recognizes the divorce, and you are legally married under California law, then New Mexico would also recognize the marriage under what's called the full faith and credit clause.

Bottom line is you need to talk to a lawyer from the state where you were married..

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George Chandler Law 1208 9th Street Los Alamos, NM 87544

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