B-157611, SEP. 22, 1965

B-157611: Sep 22, 1965

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LAMONT LEWIS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF AUGUST 30. A COPY OF WHICH WAS ENCLOSED. THAT YOU HAVE BEEN SEPARATED SINCE MAY 30. EVEN THOUGH THE DIVORCE DECREE RECITES THAT YOU WERE SERVED WITH PROCESS IN THE ACTION. LEWIS WAS TERMINATED BY THE ALLEGED DIVORCE DECREE. HELD THAT MEXICAN DIVORCES WILL BE RECOGNIZED AS VALID IN NEW YORK IF ONE OF THE PARTIES PERSONALLY APPEARS BEFORE THE MEXICAN COURT AND THE DEFENDANT SPOUSE PARTICIPATES IN THE DIVORCE ACTION BY APPEARANCE OR ANSWER BY ATTORNEY. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS RECOGNIZES AN EX PARTE MEXICAN DIVORCE. THIS OFFICE DOES NOT HAVE JURISDICTION TO REQUIRE SUPPORT OF DEPENDENTS BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMY. YOUR LETTER AND ENCLOSURE ARE BEING FORWARDED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY FOR CONSIDERATION.

B-157611, SEP. 22, 1965

TO MRS. LAMONT LEWIS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF AUGUST 30, 1965, FROM YOUR ATTORNEY CONCERNING THE FAILURE OF YOUR HUSBAND, WARRANT OFFICER LAMONT LEWIS, W 2 146 076, TO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR SUPPORT ON THE BASIS OF A MEXICAN DIVORCE DECREE, A COPY OF WHICH WAS ENCLOSED.

IT APPEARS THAT YOU MARRIED WARRANT OFFICER LEWIS IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, ON DECEMBER 22, 1960; THAT YOU HAVE BEEN SEPARATED SINCE MAY 30, 1962; THAT YOUR HUSBAND OBTAINED A DIVORCE IN JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO, ON MARCH 24, 1965, IN WHICH HE PERSONALLY APPEARED; AND THAT YOU NEITHER ANSWERED NOR APPEARED IN THE DIVORCE ACTION, EVEN THOUGH THE DIVORCE DECREE RECITES THAT YOU WERE SERVED WITH PROCESS IN THE ACTION. YOUR ATTORNEY STATES THAT THE PERSONNEL OFFICER, HEADQUARTERS, 108TH INTELLIGENCE GROUP, ADVISED YOU THAT ELIGIBILITY FOR RIGHTS AND BENEFITS AS THE WIFE OF MR. LEWIS WAS TERMINATED BY THE ALLEGED DIVORCE DECREE.

WHILE THE NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS IN ROSENSTIEL V. ROSENSTIEL, DECIDED JULY 12, 1965, HELD THAT MEXICAN DIVORCES WILL BE RECOGNIZED AS VALID IN NEW YORK IF ONE OF THE PARTIES PERSONALLY APPEARS BEFORE THE MEXICAN COURT AND THE DEFENDANT SPOUSE PARTICIPATES IN THE DIVORCE ACTION BY APPEARANCE OR ANSWER BY ATTORNEY, THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS RECOGNIZES AN EX PARTE MEXICAN DIVORCE. IN THE ABSENCE OF AN APPROPRIATE DECISION BY THE PROPER COURT IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO BASIS FOR EXTENDING RECOGNITION TO A MEXICAN DIVORCE OBTAINED BY A RESIDENT OF PENNSYLVANIA, OR ONE OBTAINED FROM A RESIDENT OF PENNSYLVANIA, EVEN THOUGH THE DEFENDANT SPOUSE MAY BE SERVED WITH PROCESS IN THAT STATE.

HOWEVER, THIS OFFICE DOES NOT HAVE JURISDICTION TO REQUIRE SUPPORT OF DEPENDENTS BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMY. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR LETTER AND ENCLOSURE ARE BEING FORWARDED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY FOR CONSIDERATION.