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Plaintiff Says She was Fooled into Filing for Divorce


Annette Lavi is the respondent in this case and the appellant is Houshang Lavi. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Department. The Special Term Court determined that in this particular case the Equitable Distribution Law allowed interim maintenance to be granted.

This case is quite unusual. The history of the couple begins when they were married on the 20th of December, 1968 in Queens County, New York. In July of 1969, the couple traveled to Juarez, Mexico. At this time the couple went before a Judge in the First Civil Court located in the Bravos District and the wife petitioned for a divorce. A New York Criminal Lawyer said this petition was granted and declared inter alia that the marriage between the couple that took place on the 20th of December, 1968 in New York was dissolved. This decree gave each party the right to remarry at their discretion.

The plaintiff was the one who initiated the divorce proceedings in Mexico. However, she states that she was fooled into doing so by the defendant. According to the plaintiff the defendant informed her in the beginning of 1969 that his feelings for her were gone because she was his and that if she was no longer his and they were no longer married that his feelings of love for her would come back. A New York Custody Lawyer said the plaintiff further states that the defendant told her that if they were divorced in Mexico that they could return to New York and continue to live together. She states that he said once his feelings of love returned that they would remarry.

The couple did return to New York and lived together as husband and wife for ten years. During this time they had a daughter together. In May of 1979 the couple separated.

This action was brought before the court on the 16th of May, 1983 by the plaintiff wife. She is seeking various reliefs in the form of maintenance and support for both herself and their daughter. The defendant argues that the plaintiff wife cannot seek this relief because she is his ex-wife. A Queens Family Lawyer said he further argues that the obligation for support of a wife by a husband is based on the existence of a valid marriage, which does not exist in this case based on the divorce the couple obtained in the Mexican Court.

Court Discussion

The Special Court awarded the plaintiff wife with maintenance and support and it is this ruling that is being appealed by the defendant. He argues that the order for support is not valid as the couple was no longer married as declared by the Mexican Court previously.

The question before the court does not directly deal with whether or not the divorce issued in Mexico is valid, but rather deals with determining whether or not the plaintiff wife deserves maintenance and support based on the relationship of the couple.

A Queens Custody Lawyer said after reviewing the facts of the case the court finds in favor of the plaintiff. The appeal made by the defendant is denied and the previous awards made by the special term of the Supreme Court will be upheld.

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