Court Denies Comity for Foreign Divorce in Motion to Dismiss
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A court denied a husband’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on the existence of a Lebanese divorce decree, because the defendant husband had not abandoned his residence in CT and was not domiciled in Lebanon at the time of the divorce.
The parties were married in 2003 in Lebanon. On August 16, 2011, the plaintiff, Nadine Hage-Sleiman moved for dissolution of their marriage. The plaintiff had resided in Connecticut for twelve months prior to the date of this complaint. A prenuptial agreement exists which states that the plaintiff is to receive$50,000 upon the termination of the marriage. On April 1, 2011, the defendant husband filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the parties were divorced in a court of competent jurisdiction in Lebanon. The defendant argued that the legal principle of comity should give the Lebanese divorce decree “full force and effect,” thereby deeming subsequent divorce proceedings moot.
The court declined granting the motion to dismiss, because the defendant failed to establish evidence of his abandonment of residence in the state of Connecticut. Furthermore, the defendant was not domiciled in Lebanon at the time of divorce. This lack of presence in Lebanon brings question to the actual validity of the foreign divorce action. Comity does not demand recognition where the traditional requisite for subject matter jurisdiction in matrimonial proceeding is domicile. According to Litvaitis v. Litvaitis, 162 Conn 545’546, such comity is not recognized unless one of the spouses was a good faith domiciliary in the foreign nation at the time the divorce decree was rendered. Because the defendant clearly lacked domicile in Lebanon at the time, the motion to dismiss was denied.
For a free consultation, please do not hesitate to call the experienced family law and divorce attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport, CT at 203-221-3100. We may also be reached for inquiries by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.
Source: Hage-Sleiman v. Hage-Sleiman, 2011 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1960 (Conn. Super. Ct. July 27, 2011)
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