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Court Reviews Foreign Divorce Decree


This case is taking place in the Special Term of the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Nassau County. A New York Family Lawyer said the application to the court is being made by the petitioner, Marlene Kraham. The respondent in this case is Harvey Harris Kraham. The matter being heard in the court questions whether a decree of divorce in Haiti is recognized in the state of New York. Generally, divorces that are obtained in foreign courts are entitled to recognition based on comity unless the decree has offended the public policies of the state of New York.

Case Description

The matter that is being heard in this court involves an application for a separation agreement to be amended, thus requiring the court to change a decree of divorce that was made in a Haitian court.

The couple was married in January of 1959 in New York, New York. A New York Custody Lawyer said they have two children together. In March of 1972, the couple entered a separation agreement and in May of the same year the respondent, Harvey Harris Kraham went to Haiti. While in Haiti he obtained a bilateral divorce based on the grounds of incompatibility. The petitioner appeared in the matter through counsel. The separation agreement was entered into the court supporting the case for divorce.

The couple has requested that the separation agreement be amended and for an order from the Supreme Court of the State of New York be entered to modify and amend the agreement and the Haitian divorce degree. The amendments requested involve the alimony and support provisions that are contained in the Haitian decree. There are no problems in relation to the modification of alimony and support as both parties have agreed to the same. However, the issue is whether the decree from the Haitian Court is recognizable in the state of New York and if so, can it be modified.

Case Discussion and Determination

When a court reviews a foreign decree to be grant consideration of the decree on basis of comity it must consider the public policy in regard to jurisdiction in the matter. A Queens Family Lawyer said in this particular case both parties agreed to the terms of the divorce decree made in Haiti and the individuals were both recognized during the trial.

In this case the couple had been living apart for over a year, which is in agreement with the separation decree that was issued by the court of New York. The court cannot find the act of obtaining a divorce in a foreign country offensive to the public policy of the state. Additionally, both parties have fully agreed to the upward modifications of both the alimony and support payments, which makes the case most agreeable.

After reviewing the information provided by both parties the court will grant the relief that is being sought in this case. A Queens Custody Lawyer said the divorce decree from Haiti is recognized in this court on account of comity as the court finds that it is unnecessary for the parties to have to return to Haiti to have these modifications made as they both agree to the terms.

If you are involved in a divorce or separation petition and would like to speak with a lawyer, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have offices located throughout the city of New York. We are happy to discuss any legal matter that you may have with you to help determine your best course of action. We offer free consultations during your first visit to our offices.

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