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Court Determines Validity of Mexican Divorce


This is a case being heard in front of the Supreme Court of Westchester County. The plaintiff in the case is Agnes Mary Clark Alfaro. The defendant of the case is Carl E. Alfaro. The action before the court is for a separation based on the grounds of abandonment, non support, and cruelty. A New York Family Lawyer said the action also seeks to declare a Mexican divorce obtained by the defendant from the plaintiff on the fifteenth of October 1954 as invalid. The couple has three children together.

Case Background

Before the year 1940, the defendant was married to another woman. On the 23rd of January, 1940, he obtained a divorce from his former wife. On the 29th of January, 1940, he married the plaintiff in Mexico. The plaintiff claims that she married the defendant in Mexico because he was working there and had stated that he may in fact decide to reside there. The plaintiff also states that the defendant was present in the divorce proceedings that took place in Mexico.

The defendant claims that he was not present during the Mexican divorce proceedings and the divorce was mail order. A New York Custody Lawyer said he states that the plaintiff was aware of this and that the divorce was not valid here as they were told by a New York attorney these facts. He states that the couple was married in Mexico so there could be no charges of bigamy against him.

Case Discussion and Decision

If the claim made by the defendant husband is true, then the action brought before the court must fail. However, if the allegations made by the wife are true the question of whether the defendant is estopped to deny the Mexican divorce comes into play.

In this particular case there is no evidence provided to show whether the defendant appeared in the Mexican court to obtain his previous divorce. A Queens Family Lawyer said for this reason it appears that the previous divorce is not valid and based on the conduct of the defendant he is not estopped from asserting this invalidity of the divorce.

However, there are other events that have transpired in this case. The couple have lived together as man and wife and have a child together. Furthermore, a Queens Custody Lawyer said his former wife sued for and obtained a separation decree in New York and later obtained and absolute divorce in the state of New York. This absolute divorce cured any defects of the previous divorce obtained in Mexico. However, this is not the case. The plaintiff relies on this representation in her case and claims its significance as the couple had two more children after this fact.

The court has reviewed the facts in this case and finds that the Mexican divorce is not valid and for this reason the complaint made by the plaintiff must be dismissed. However, the court can make a provision in this matter in regard to the custody and support of the children. The plaintiff is given custody of the children and the defendant is ordered to pay child support of $250 per month. The motion for counsel fees and alimony are referred to the trial court as they cannot be granted under this decision.

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