During the 1940s, 1950s and up until the mid-1960s, U.S. citizens traveled to Mexico to obtain quick and at the time legal divorces. By the mid-1960s, courts throughout the U.S. began ruling that in many instances a Mexican divorce was not legal. Therefore, if you are considering traveling to Mexico for a divorce, you need to understand some basics about Mexico divorce law.
The most common misconception about Mexico divorce law is that you do not need to be a resident of the Republic of Mexico to obtain a divorce. Technically, the law in Mexico requires residency of at least one party to a divorce. Practically, there remain courts in the country that ignore this prohibition. A foreign national seeking a divorce in Mexico runs the risk of not obtaining a legal marriage dissolution. If there is ever a challenge to a divorce obtained in Mexico as a nonresident, you likely will lose such a contest.
The laws of the individual states that make up the Republic of Mexico govern divorces. Although there is a good deal of similarity from one state to another, there are also some legal peculiarities in each jurisdiction. The Republic of Mexico consists of 30 states, a territory and on federal district, each with their own divorce code. If you establish residency in Mexico, you need to familiarize yourself with the law of the state where you legally reside.
You legally can obtain a divorce in Mexico if you establish residency. Historically the reason many people sought a Mexican divorce was speed. Taking the time to establish residency defeats the purpose of trying to obtain a swift marriage termination in Mexico. Obtaining a resident visa requires you to earn at least the peso equivalent of $1,500 per month and additional $500 for each dependent, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.
Fraudulent divorce decrees are common in Mexico, particularly in cases involving U.S. nationals issued a resident visa in the Republic of Mexico. Attorneys and even judges issue false documents that they state is evidence of the divorce decree when there in fact was no official or legal dissolution of marriage. The U.S. Embassy provides assistance in providing reliable translators to ensure documents provided are authentic and to confirm that a true and legal divorce occurred.
If there is a bona fide reason for you to obtain a divorce in Mexico, obtaining a Mexican divorce lawyer is imperative according to the U.S. Embassy. You need to be absolutely certain you connect with a reputable attorney. The U.S. Embassy advises that there are predatory attorneys who prey on foreign nationals (even those who obtain a resident visa in Mexico and defraud them through divorce proceedings. References from Mexican nationals you trust is crucial in identifying a capable and trustworthy lawyer in the country.