PR 03120.238 Mexico
A. PR 83-029 Vickie L. S~ Ceremonial Marriage In Mexico (Your Memorandum Of January 3, 1983)
DATE: September 27, 1983
MARRIAGE — CEREMONIAL MARRIAGE — STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS — MEXICO
In Sonora Mexico a child between the ages of 14 and 20 (inclusive) must have the consent of both parents (if living) before contracting a marriage. Where a child entered into a marriage in a civil ceremony with the consent of the mother but not the father, the marriage is voidable, not void, and remains valid until such time as the validity is successfully challenged. (S~, Vickie L., ~ — RAIX (T~), to RC, 09/27/83.)
Evidence contained in the claims file indicates -that the claimant, Vickie L. S~, and the wage earner, Harvey S~, underwent a civil marriage ceremony in Sonora, Mexico, on November 25, 1968. The claimant was fifteen years old at the time; the wage earner was '43. The marriage was consented to and witnessed by the claimant's mother, Dorothy N~ .1_/ You have requested our opinion as to whether or not this marriage is valid, void, or voidable under the laws of the state of Sonora. In order for us to fulfill your request, it was necessary to consult the Law Library of the Library of Congress. The following discussion is based primarily upon information provided to us by the Library.
Pursuant to Article 242 of the Sonora Civil Code, 2_/ a person between 14 and 20 years of age (inclusive) must obtain the prior consent of both parents before contracting a marriage.3/ Evidently, in this case the claimant's father did not consent to the marriage. The lack of paternal consent constituted an impediment to the marriage and provided grounds for its nullification. See Articles 248 and 393, Section II, of the Civil Code. The marriage, however, was voidable, not void. A duly registered marriage is presumed to be valid unless actually nullified by a final court judgment. Article 412. A petition for nullification. could have been filed by the claimant at any time before she reached the age of 21. Article 395. It appears from the file that the claimant did not petition for nullification prior to her twenty-first birthday. In addition, her father could petition to nullify the marriage within thirty days of the time he learned of the marriage, unless he expressly or tacitly' consented to the marriage within that thirty-day term. Article 396. The claims file does not reveal when or if Mr. E~ learned of the marriage. If he has never learned of it, the thirty-day period has not yet commenced, and it would be conceivable that he might petition to annul the marriage. Unless and until he does so, how- ever, the marriage between the claimant and the wage earner is presumptively valid under the laws of Sonora.4_/
1_/ Apparently Ms. N~ later changed her name to Dorothy D~.
2/' Codigo Civil para el E.L.Y.S. de Sonora, Ed. Cajica, Puebla, 1977 (effective September 1949). All references contained in this opinion are to this code.
3/ If one parent is deceased, the consent of the surviving parent is sufficient. The claimant's marriage certificate lists her father, Kamimur E~, as “retirado” (retired). Accordingly, we have presumed that he was alive on the date of the marriage ceremony. If Mr. E~ was not alive, the consent of the claimant's mother was adequate to render the marriage valid from the outset.
4/ Because the claimant was at least 14 years old at the time of the ceremony, the fact that she falsely stated her age as 18 would not be cause for invalidating the marriage, as long as she had the requisite parental consent. (See text for rules applicable to such consent.)