Husband's Plan Fails to Establish Domicile for Foreign Divorce
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A divorce obtained in a foreign country will not always negate a divorce matter in the United States by comity. A court denied a defendant husband’s motion for dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, because the plaintiff wife was not domiciled or provided due process in the foreign country the husband filed action in.
The parties’ marriage began to break down in the summer of 2009. The court found credible evidence that the defendant initiated extramarital affairs and engaged in domestic violence in the marital home. The defendant elected to obtain a divorce in Kenya to benefit financially from impending judgments. While the plaintiff and children were on vacation in Kenya at the defendant’s request, the plaintiff’s return ticket was altered by the defendant, so that the plaintiff’s stay would meet the minimum period of time required to satisfy jurisdiction. Credible evidence shows that an attempt to serve the defendant was made at the home of the plaintiff’s mother. The plaintiff was informed of this attempt, and immediately left the country to avoid being served. The plaintiff denies receiving any paperwork associated with the divorce proceeding in Kenya.
The plaintiff has been a legal permanent resident of the United States since 2007. The defendant husband became a naturalized United States citizen in 2008. In 2010 Kenya approved dual citizenship for the defendant. The Kenya divorce petition provides that the parties are both domiciled in the United States. Traditional jurisdiction of a divorce is based on domicile. The divorce judgment of a foreign nation will not be recognized unless at least one party has in good faith established domicile there. This domicil must be voluntarily fixed for his habitation, not for mere temporary or special purpose, but with the present intention of making it his home. The court ultimately found that any such domicile as described herein were constructed for the furtherance of the defendant’s plot to achieve jurisdiction in Kenya.
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: Juma v. Aomo, 68 A.3d 148 (Conn. App. Ct. 2013)
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