California Court docket Rejects Lebanese Bigamous Marriage
Whereas Mr. Samir Elali was married to Ms. Angeles Elali and resided together with her in California, Samir married Ms. Mayssa Marchoud in Lebanon. Samir[ testified] that he married Angeles in 1987, and had remained married to her for nearly 35 years, together with when he married Mayssa in Lebanon in 2012. After Samir tried to terminate the Lebanese marriage, Mayssa filed a petition in California for spousal help with out dissolution towards Samir. The trial court docket dominated the Lebanese marriage was bigamous and due to this fact void beneath Household Code part 2201, subdivision (a)…. We … conclude the trial court docket didn’t err in ruling the bigamous Lebanese marriage was void beneath part 2201(a)[:]
[A subsequent marriage contracted by a person during the life of his or her former spouse, with a person other than the former spouse, is illegal and void, unless:
(1) The former marriage has been dissolved or adjudged a nullity before the date of the subsequent marriage.
(2) The former spouse (A) is absent, and not known to the person to be living for the period of five successive years immediately preceding the subsequent marriage, or (B) is generally reputed or believed by the person to be dead at the time the subsequent marriage was contracted.] …
Beneath [Family Code] part 308, “[a] marriage contracted exterior this state that may be legitimate by legal guidelines of the jurisdiction by which the wedding was contracted is legitimate in California.” … Mayssa argues that though Samir had two simultaneous marriages, the second marriage in Lebanon was legitimate as a result of Lebanese legislation permits bigamy….
McDonald v. McDonald (Cal. 1936) and Brandt v. Brandt (Cal. App. 1939) state that in California, a bigamous marriage is towards public coverage and due to this fact invalid…. Penal Code part 281 [also] demonstrates that in California a bigamous marriage is towards public coverage and due to this fact utility of part 2201(a) to such a bigamous marriage is correct even when the bigamous overseas marriage is legitimate beneath the legislation of the situs of the wedding. Penal Code part 281 states that “Each particular person having a partner residing, who marries … is responsible of bigamy.” Penal Code part 281 additional states in related half that, “[u]pon a trial for bigamy, … when the second marriage … passed off out of this state, proof of that truth, accompanied with proof of cohabitation thereafter on this state, is ample to maintain the cost.”
And the court docket concludes that Property of Bir (Cal. App. 1948), which did contemplate an Indian polygamous marriage in deciding how property was to be distributed on demise within the absence of will, was restricted to such intestate succession controversy:
In Bir, the court docket acknowledged beneath ideas of comity, the decedent’s marriage entered in India, the place the legal guidelines of India permitted bigamous marriages. Bir is inapposite as a result of the court docket’s recognition of the bigamous overseas marriage was solely within the context of a petition to find out intestate succession by the decedent’s two wives, who have been residents of India, not California.
The court docket in Wong v. Tenneco, Inc. (Cal. 1985) defined that the general public coverage exception to the comity doctrine “precludes utility of a overseas state’s legislation the place to take action would violate California’s public coverage. [Citations.] The usual, nevertheless, isn’t merely that the legislation is opposite to our public coverage, however that it’s so offensive to our public coverage as to be ‘prejudicial to acknowledged requirements of morality and to the overall pursuits of the residents ….’ [Citations.]” Even when a overseas legislation offends public coverage, “it might nonetheless be utilized in a restricted context the place the potential hurt is minimal,” because the court docket present in Bir [in the context of intestate succession only, India’s law permits polygamy to be applied under principles of comity].
The court docket in Bir said that “The place solely the query of descent of property is concerned, ‘public coverage’ isn’t affected…. True, there are circumstances holding invalid polygamous marriages entered into in locations the place such marriages are authorized, however in every such case discovered, all of the events have been residing and no query of succession to property was thought of…. ‘Public coverage’ wouldn’t be affected by dividing the cash equally between the 2 wives, notably since there isn’t a contest between them and they’re the one events.”
Within the on the spot case, in contrast to in Bir, the events to the bigamous marriage are each residing, there’s a dispute over their marital rights to help and the division of property beneath the California Household Code. Part 2201(a), Penal Code part 281, and case legislation helps the willpower that bigamous marriages in California are towards public coverage, unlawful, and thus void. We due to this fact conclude the trial court docket correctly dominated that the Lebanese bigamous marriage was void beneath part 2201(a)….