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Know The Law In Mexico - Marriage And Divorce In Mexico

Adriana Perez Flores

Here are two widely varying topics. Marriage, everyone loves to talk about. Divorce, not a very popular topic. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they are facts of life. Many people come to us inquiring about both. This article is to give you some guidelines in these matters. For foreigners, if you are not prepared, it can be exhausting meeting the requirements.

In a marriage or divorce you are going to need at the very least your birth certificates. If you are a foreigner, these birth certificates will need to be apostilled (if you are from the US or any other country which is part of the Hague Convention), or certified by a Mexican Consulate (if you are from Canada or any other country not part of the Hague Convention). Once you have obtained these certifications, you then need to have them translated here in Mexico by a certified translator recognized by the State.

If you are planning on marrying or divorcing a Mexican National, you will need to get a permit from Immigration giving you permission. This permission is not required if you are marrying another foreigner, but is necessary if you are divorcing another foreigner. Also, if you have been divorced in the past, you will require your divorce decree to obtain the marriage license. Naturally, this will need the same certification and translation as previously mentioned if the divorce was outside of Mexico.

When obtaining all these documents and certifications, please remember that the State will require only originals, and will keep these originals. In some cases you may have your lawyer ask the judge if certified copies of the original are acceptable. So if you are obtaining one set, you may as well obtain a few for any future requirements that may arise. Generally the costs are minimal if you are doing this yourself north of the border.

Once the documents are gathered, and the permit from Immigration is ready if you are marrying a Mexican National, only then can you go to city hall to obtain your marriage license.

Divorces are a little more complicated. Here in Mexico there are 2 types of divorces. The first is called Nicesario . This is a contested divorce where the parties do not agree and need to fight it out in court. This process will be very expensive, and the only winning party will be the lawyers. The courts are pretty tight here concerning the split of the assets, which is normally 50/50. Throw in custody battles, and off-shore pensions, and this could drag out for years. The minimum time to complete this type of divorce is one year.

The second type is Voluntario. This is where both parties agree to all terms, and have an agreement drawn up to supply to the courts. The judge will review this and then meet with both parties to determine if in fact this is the way they want to proceed. The judge will usually call two of these meetings. These uncontested divorces generally take 3-6 months.

I found through an experience of my own, getting married outside of Mexico was a much simpler affair. I was married in Alberta, Canada, to a Canadian. The only documentation I needed to provide there was a passport. But as I mentioned before, if you are prepared for getting married here in Mexico, it can also be a relatively simple experience.

And remember; as a foreigner, any time you change your civil status, whether through marriage, divorce, or death, you have 30 days to inform Immigration on your Migratory status except for those of you holding a Tourist Visa (FMT).

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2003 by Adriana Perez Flores © 2003
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