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
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.)