Know The Law In Mexico – Marriage And Divorce In Mexico

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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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18 thoughts on “Know The Law In Mexico – Marriage And Divorce In Mexico

  1. Hello, I’m a European citizen and my fiancé is American. Is it true that one who has been previously divorced needs to wait at least a full calendar year before being able to get married in Mexico? Is it true for all states?

    1. It is true in most states but there are some exceptions, with Quintana Roo, for example, having a slightly less stringent rule. You should check with the relevant local authorities or seek up-to-date information from the members of an online forum serving the area you have in mind.

  2. Hi I’m looking for infomation on how to get a divorce that is not contested, and there is no community property. The husband is Mexican and the wife a US citizen. The marriage took place 27 years ago in Las Vegas and was apostillado here in Mexico. What is the process? TYIA

  3. I was married in Mexico to Mexico citizen I filed for divorce in Mexico for years ago and he’s still not been served papers what do I need to do so I can get married in the United States to somebody else

  4. My mom was recently married in mexico. They only had 2 witnesses, and they didn’t have all of the necessary documentation. Does this mean their marriage is not valid?

    1. I myself married in Mexico. I’m American he is Mexican. I was aware I didn’t have the correct documentation, as I didn’t want to get married (Domestic Violence). He paid, but in the end my name was incorrect spelled, and I never turned in the documentation to the US. I would LOVE for mine to be invalid!

  5. how to start a process if national mexican married in mexico to another nation mexican and one is in us wants a divorce??

  6. I’m a Canadian divorced in Cuba want to marry a Mexican woman but finding it impossible to retrieve my divorce certificate from the Cuban government what can I do with no certificate? Thank you in advance

  7. Good day.
    I am European.
    My wife is Asian.
    We both hold permanent residences. (not nationals)
    We were married in Mexico.
    Our daughter is born in Mexico is a Mexican residence and holds a Mexican and European (EU) passport.
    The time has come for a divorce.
    My fear is that my wife will take our 5 year old daughter away from me, to her Asian country and I will not see her again for another 13-14 years, knowing her mother.
    I will never let that happen and rather live in the current situation with my daughter.

    I have worked and am working in Mexico, (office work) earning quite good money. My wife has non worked a single day, the past 10 years. (she doesn’t like to)
    I am supporting her and her family in Asia.

    If we get divorced, she will leave Mexico to work abroad.

    My question is. What are my chances to keep the my daughter with me ?

    At least if my wife needs to leave Mexico, but I do not allow my daughter to leave Mexico???

    Please and kindly advice.

  8. I married a Mexican and I’m a US citizen. We split up about 3 years ago but do not have a divorce. We both want a divorce. Will I lose my residente permanente if we divorce?

  9. I have lived in mexico for 5 years with my husband. we are permanent residence. I’m looking to file for divorce. we own property here. how does this work and what should
    d I do to go about doing it the right way. please, all help is appreciated.

  10. Mexican Divorce I am a Cambodian citizen my husband is a citizen of USA we both lived in Mexico for more than one year and qualified for Mexican divorce in terms of residence we were married in excess of10 years.
    My husband successfully obtained a uncontested divorce decree without my knowledge and certainly without my consent he presented the court with certified documents signed by forging my signature. As a direct result of his illegal actions he managed to obtain the Judges degree that gave him full custody of our three children, all of our joint assets and pay me no form of alimony. He then fled Mexico with our children, he deserted me and left me alone Mexico the day before I received the divorce documents from the court. I am back living in Cambodia because of his fraud and lies and the lack of competency and diligence by the Mexican authorities !! Just to complete this travesty of deceit amazingly the divorce decree stipulates that under Mexican law I cant even appeal against the courts decision. I wonder how the “competent” trail Judge would react if his children had been abducted and all of his assets had been stolen.

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