The Republic Of Mexico

: Japanese Fairy Tales

Mexico is a federative Republic composed of twenty-seven States, three

Territories and a Federal District.

Under the present Constitution, which is dated February 5, 1857, each

State has the power to control its own local domestic concerns and to have

its own separate executive, legislature and judiciary.

The Civil Code of the Federal District (El Codigo Civil de Distrito

Federal) was enacte
simply for the Federal District and the Territories

of Lower California, Tepic and Quintana Roo, but each of the twenty-seven

States have in their respective Civil Codes adopted the provisions of the

Federal Civil Code, especially with reference to the law of marriage and

divorce. Therefore, we find it unnecessary to deal with each State


MARRIAGE.--The courts of Mexico, following the Federal Code, define

marriage as the lawful co-partnership of one man and one woman united for

life in an indissoluble bond to perpetuate their species and to render

each other mutual assistance, fidelity and sympathy in bearing together

the burdens of life.

The law does not recognize in any manner future espousals, nor any

conditions contrary to the legitimate purposes of marriage.

Marriage must be preceded by the statutory preliminaries and be celebrated

before authorized officials with all such formalities as are by law


A male must be at least 14 years of age and a female at least 12 years of

age to contract marriage, unless a dispensation from the superior

political authority is obtained permitting marriage at an earlier age.

Such a dispensation can only be obtained in exceptional cases and for good


Parental consent is required for the marriage of both males and females

under the age of 21 years. If the father is dead the consent of the mother

is sufficient. If both the father and mother are dead then the consent of

the paternal grandfather will suffice. If he is also dead the paternal

grandmother must give consent. In the event of both paternal grandparents

being dead the maternal grandparents take their place and exercise the

patria potestad.

IMPEDIMENTS.--The impediments to marriage are:

1. Incapacity of the parties, as when one or both are under age.

2. Absence of the consent of parents or of the person exercising the

rights of a parent.

3. Mistake as to the identity of either party.

4. Relationship within the prohibited degrees.

CONSANGUINITY AND AFFINITY.--Marriages are prohibited between ascendants

and descendants; between brothers and sisters of the whole or half blood;

between uncles and nieces; aunts and nephews, and all other persons

related by blood or marriage within the third degree.

The laws of Mexico recognize no relationship other than one by

consanguinity and affinity.

Each generation constitutes a degree, and the series of degrees constitute

the line of relationship.


A. A marriage is prohibited when either of the intending parties has a

husband or wife still living.

B. If one of the parties has made an attempt against the life of the

husband or wife of the other with the intention of marrying the survivor.

C. If one of the parties has obtained the apparent consent of the other by

fear, coercion or duress.

D. If either of the parties is permanently and incurably insane.

FORMALITIES.--Parties intending to conclude marriage must personally

appear before the judge of civil status of the domicile of either party,

and state their intention. The judge will thereupon make an entry in a

register kept for that purpose of the names, occupations and domiciles of

both of the contracting parties, the names, occupations and domiciles of

their parents, if the same be ascertainable, the names, occupations and

domiciles of the witnesses whom the parties present to the judge as

knowing the legal capacity of the parties, and proof of the consents of

the parents, or of such persons as are lawfully exercising the rights of

the parents.

If either of the contracting parties has been previously married the judge

must require proper evidence that the former consort is dead.

If it appears that there exists any impediment to the intended marriage

which could be removed by a dispensation from the superior political

authority such dispensation must be exhibited.

Upon the judge receiving the required proof that the parties may be

legally married he will cause a copy of the record to be posted in a

conspicuous place in his office for 15 days, and two similar copies must

be posted in the usual public places. If, during the publication as

aforesaid, and for three days thereafter, no valid opposition is made by

any one to the marriage, it becomes the duty of the judge, upon request of

the parties, to fix the place, day and hour for the celebration.

A marriage must be celebrated in public at the place and time previously

fixed by the judge. The parties must appear in person or by their

specially appointed proxies, and be attended by at least three adult

witnesses, who may be relatives.

The parties, by themselves, or by their specially appointed proxies, must

formally declare to the judge in the presence of the witnesses their

intention to take each other as husband and wife, upon which declaration

the judge shall pronounce them man and wife and make an official record of

the marriage.

RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF MARRIAGE.--Husband and wife are obliged to be

faithful to each other, and each must contribute his or her part to the

objects of the marriage. They are under mutual obligation to succor and

protect one another and to render each to the other affection and


It is a wife's duty to live with her husband and to follow him wherever he

may choose to go and accept his selection of a conjugal home.

A husband is obligated to provide alimentation (alimentos) to his wife

even though she may have brought no property into the marital community.

By alimentation is meant not only necessary food, but raiment and things

of personal necessity and comfort commensurate with the husband's ability

to make such provision. The husband owes his wife the duty of protecting

her person and reputation.

The wife must obey her husband in domestic concerns, in the matter of

training and educating the children of the marriage and in all affairs

connected with the common property and the household.

If the wife has property of her own she must furnish alimentation (food,

clothing and lodging) to her husband when he is in want and cannot obtain

it for himself.

If a husband proposes to leave the Republic to live in a foreign land the

wife may apply to the courts to be relieved from the usual duty of

adopting her husband's residence.

The husband is the legitimate representative and manager of all of the

property of the marriage. He is ordinarily his wife's representative in

legal proceedings. A wife generally cannot appear either personally or by

attorney in a suit at law without her husband's authorization in writing.

If she is of full age a wife does not require her husband's authorization

in the following instances:

A. To defend herself in a criminal action.

B. To bring a suit against her husband.

C. To devise or bequeath her own separate property by a will.

D. When her husband is in what the Mexican lawyers call a state of

interdiction, as, for example, when he is under guardianship or insane.

E. When she is in business on her separate account and the suit or

proceeding relates to such business.

DIVORCE.--It is in the chapter of the Civil Code entitled "Del divorcio"

that we find the statutory provisions concerning divorce. The chapter

begins by stating positively that divorce (divorcio) does not dissolve

the bonds of matrimony. We must remember that the Federal Code is founded

upon the Spanish Code, and that both Mexico and Spain, being historically

Roman Catholic countries, reflect the leading dogmas of the Catholic

Church in their civil jurisprudence. What is called a divorce in Mexican

law is at the most a separation from bed and board. It simply suspends

certain of the civil obligations and effects of marriage.


1. Adultery of the wife under any circumstances.

2. Adultery of the husband, if the adultery is committed in the conjugal

home, or if the husband is living in concubinage, or if the husband's

adultery causes a public scandal and attracts public contempt or insult to

the wife, or if the wife has been ill used by word or deed by her

husband's paramour or on account of her.

3. If the husband proposes or plans to prostitute his wife, or accepts

from a third person any money, article or valuable consideration for the

purpose of effecting such prostitution.

4. When either spouse instigates or encourages the other to commit a


5. The attempt by positive acts by either husband or wife to corrupt their

children or by deliberately permitting third persons to practice such


6. Abandonment without just and legal cause of the conjugal home (casa

comun), or if there is just and legal cause for such abandonment, to

remain away for one year or more without beginning a suit for divorce.

7. Cruelty, threats or injury of a serious nature by one spouse against

the other.

8. False accusation of a grave nature made by either party against the


9. The refusal, or wilful neglect, of one spouse to furnish alimentation,

or support, to the other, in accordance with law.

10. Incorrigible vices of gambling or drunkenness.

11. The existence of a chronic and incurable disease which is hereditary

or contagious afflicting one of the spouses previous to the marriage, of

which the other spouse had no knowledge when the marriage was concluded.

12. If the wife gives birth to a child conceived before marriage, which

child has been judicially declared illegitimate.

13. An infringement or violation of the marriage settlements

(capitulaciones matrimoniales).

14. Mutual consent of the parties.

PROCEEDINGS FOR DIVORCE.--Even if the spouses consent to a divorce there

must be a formal legal proceeding. In such a case the suit is begun by a

petition to the judge setting forth clearly the consent to divorce and the

agreement of the parties as to the maintenance of the wife, the custody of

the children and the disposition or division of the property held in


When such a petition is filed it becomes the duty of the judge to summon

the parties before him and to endeavour to effect a reconciliation.

In a suit where the spouses do not mutually consent to a divorce, it is

still the legal duty of the judge to attempt a reconciliation of the


ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE.--While the Mexican law does not recognize absolute

divorce it does provide for the annulment or setting aside absolutely of

certain marriages. Marriages are voidable and may be annulled in the

courts on the following grounds:

A. If the parties are related within the prohibited degrees of

consanguinity and affinity.

B. If the parties, or either of them, were incapable by reason of non-age

or otherwise of legally concluding marriage.

C. If the necessary parental consent, or consent of the person exercising

the patria potestad, was not had.

D. If the marriage was irregular or contrary to law, as, for example, if

the proper publication was omitted, or no witnesses attended the


E. If there exists in either party, and existed before the marriage, an

incurable impotency for copulation.

Want of legal age of either party is not a ground for annulment if a child

is born, the issue of the union.

And if either party, or both, were under the legal age at the time of

marriage, a decree of annulment will not be granted if, upon becoming

twenty-one years of age, the spouses continue to cohabit together.

Such marriages as we have pointed out above are not void, but voidable,

and any of the grounds sufficient for annulment may be waived by the

aggrieved spouse.

EFFECTS OF DIVORCE.--Divorce can only be granted to the innocent party,

and suit therefor must be brought within one year after the petitioner

discovers the facts which constitute a legal cause for a decree.

The innocent party, pending the action, or even after the final decree,

may require the other party to resume the marriage relationship.

The most usual effect of a divorce is a physical separation of the


If the wife is the guilty party she may, on her husband's suggestion, be

directed by the judge to live in a certain house, for the protection of

the good name of the husband.

Upon the finding of a decree of divorce, if the parties have not reached

an appropriate agreement, the judge will make such directions as to the

maintenance of the wife, custody of children and division of common

property as justice may require.

FOREIGN MARRIAGES.--Marriages concluded between foreigners in a foreign

country, which are valid in that country, will be recognized as valid for

all civil effects in Mexico.

A marriage between a Mexican citizen and a foreigner, or between two

Mexican citizens, and concluded in a foreign country, will be valid for

all civil effects in Mexico, provided such marriage was concluded

according to the law of the foreign country and is not in violation of the

Mexican laws as to the prohibited degrees of relationship, capacity to

contract and consent of persons in loco parentis.

Foreign laws (leyes extranjeras) must be established as matters of fact

by the persons relying upon their existence, and their application to

questions at issue must also be shown.

Within three months after a Mexican citizen who has concluded marriage in

a foreign country returns to the Republic, he or she must cause the

inscription of the celebration to be entered in the Civil Register of his

or her domicile.